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 →

Tech is so … wow

Think about it. We’re about to enter 2014. We have a world where you can stand in the middle of any major city — and, in many cases, places well-removed from any major city — holding a small device in your hand, with which you can:

  1. not just talk, but video conference with multiple people on the other side of the world, simultaneously, with high quality and sharing a screen if needed
  2. send or receive a digital file
  3. record HD video and play it back, plus manipulate and edit it
  4. take photos and manipulate and edit them
  5. browse the web, on which can be found a significant fraction of everything ever written by mankind
  6. pay your bills
  7. write a novel
  8. read a novel
  9. listen to music
  10. compose music
  11. draw high quality pictures
  12. see precisely where you are
  13. see what is around you, including terrain information, maps and details about surrounding areas / businesses etc
  14. touch a smooth piece of glass, and (ultimately) cause something to be sent to an address you nominate. That is to say, a few taps on a piece of glass  in your hand will set in motion a chain of events where money will be taken from one of your accounts, and someone will either make or (more likely) deliver something from their inventory to the address you specify, usually by engaging the services of at least one other company
  15. only have the above happen if you have your fingerprint recognised when you place it on a sensor pad.

Just think about it. Go back 10 years — to 2003, which feels like yesterday — and some of these things were possible. I remember the feeling of awe standing in the middle of a national park in New Zealand (while on holiday), without any signs of human presence visible save for the worn track on which I was standing, talking on my mobile phone with a friend in New York City.

Go back another 10 years — 1993, I remember you — and you could do parts of 1 (with a big bulky analogue mobile phone) and 7, 8 (e.g. on a Newton). Item 9 and 12, and parts of 3 and 4, were possible, with dedicated pieces of equipment.

Go back just 20 more years, to 1973, and the above would seem like magic. Arthur C Clarke’s  adage that any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic is so true.

And things are just getting faster, smaller, lighter, and more capable.