Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Internet Metaphors: From Static Pages To Streams

In a recent TechCrunch article, Eric Schonfeld discusses a metaphoric shift. For the internet, the dominant metaphor is that of a book, with pages. Now, more and more we are seeing something that looks more like a stream (First with RSS and now with twitter and friendwall). These sites are driving a trend toward fluid, INSTANT information. Traditional websites can't afford not to take note. Schonfeld says "The stream is winding its way throughout the Web and organizing it by nowness."

It does seem interesting that a decade or so after the 'surf' metaphor we get another water-based metaphor in 'stream.' Are we kayakers now? Or still surfing the rapids of the stream. I need someone to organize all the water for me? Maybe a water management technician? A beaver?

(Ward, thoughts on this?)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Newly Unveiled Search Engine Wolfram Alpha Challenges Google

Try the new search engine at

Read the review about how it stacks up versus google here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Search Engine, Wolfram Alpha, Takes Us Closer To Intelligent Search Engine

On May 18th Stephen Wolfram will release the search engine Wolfram Alpha. The program, which is already getting use in the scientific community, employs sophisticated algorithms to answer questions like how high is Mt Everest, what is the fish production in Italy, and what was the weather in London on the day John F Kennedy was killed.

Although not ready to replace traditional search engines like google, Wolfram Alpha shows the potential power 'understanding' searchers questions by utilizing artificial intelligence techniques. (full story here).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ray Kurzweil: Futurist, Inventor, Extremely Interesting Guy

In the new interview in the Guardian, Ray Kurzweil doesn't disappoint, treating interviewer Ed Pilkington to a "high-velocity monologue."  He reveals that since the age of eight his fantasy has been to become a female rock singer called Ramona (a fantasy that he sees becoming a reality with the advent of the singularity circa 2035).  

He also discusses his philanthropic ideas including his desire to "design software that could be downloaded on to all African cellphones that would easily diagnose and provide remedial directions for leading local diseases."

Finally the article concludes with a list of Kurzweil 'Eureka Moments' including:

1984 Perfected the electronic keyboard. Used sampling of the sounds of instruments to produce rich authentic reproductions of the entire orchestra. His Kurzweil K250 is used by Keith Emerson, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton and others