Category Archives: The Web

Jott Update

I’ve written previously about a service called Jott, which takes speech, converted converts it to text, and optionally sends it in to a variety of places such as, for example, there’s this blog. I’m still a fan of the service as a concept, but I find I use it less than I might because there’s no mechanism for validating the accuracy of the transcription before it gets sent wherever it’s going. This, for example, will post unedited. [DG: I have since edited the post manually.]  This is a feature I think would make the service much more useful if added.

listen Powered by Jott

UPDATE:   Case in point: as you can see from the strike-outs above, the service is fairly accurate, but there are enough errors to make posting a transcription directly to a public venue a questionable proposition.  One other peeve: I don’t believe there’s a way to set the title for a post like this separately—it’s automatically set to the first few words from the body of the post.  Simplicity good; inflexibility bad.

Glowing Cities

A time-lapse video shot by Ettubrute while crossing from Amsterdam to San Francisco (via the Dopplr blog).

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The TNG Cast Goes All Twittery

Brent Spiner has joined Wil Wheaton and LeVar Burton on Twitter.

links for 2009-01-10

Onward, Onward, We Will Keep on Progressing…

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Still no luck downloading from the Microsoft TechNet site, but the direct links posted by Neowin here seem to be working.  Though now, I suppose, I will need to figure out how to get the beta activation key.

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(strip courtesy of XKCD)

links for 2009-01-07

links for 2008-12-31

  • Huh! "If you need a logo but you're lacking the design chops to whip one up, score a free one at LogoInstant. LogoInstant is a design service that cranks out a new logo every day." Nice work, too.

Flavours of English

Alex Barnett’s observation that American English is more efficient than its British English cousin got me thinking about the language of my native Canada.  I wonder to what extent Canadians use British spelling versus American ones?  I remember Canada fairly well—I lived there until I was 12—I’m less clear on the nuances of spelling.  I clearly remember using the French spellings of some words—centre, theatre, and metre, for example, I don’t remember having to remember to drop a “u” from words like “flavour” and “colour”, or changing “s” to “z” in words like “customise” and “galvanise” once I moved to the US.  Were American spellings used for those words where I lived?  Or were the British spellings used, and my exposure to American television, which we watched routinely via the rabbit ears, had acclimated me to the American variants?

links for 2008-12-26

Penguin Poop

I’m always amazed at the things you find on the Internet.  Consider, for example, this abstract from a scholarly paper I stumbled across while reading up on Antarctica, a place I hope to travel one day (hopefully soon.) 

I am so very glad, by the way, that I chose a different profession than the authors of this article…

Abstract

Chinstrap and Adelie penguins generate considerable pressures to propel their faeces away from the edge of the nest. The pressures involved can be
approximated if the following parameters are known: (1) distance the faecal material travels before it hits the ground, (2) density and viscosity of the material, and (3) shape, aperture, and height above the ground of the orificium venti. With all of these parameters measured, we calculated that fully grown penguins generate pressures of around 10 kPa (77 mm Hg) to expel watery material and 60 kPa (450 mm Hg) to expel material of
higher viscosity similar to that of olive oil. The forces involved, lying well above those known for humans, are high, but do not lead to an energetically wasteful turbulent flow. Whether a bird chooses the direction into
which it decides to expel its faeces, and what role the wind plays in this, remain unknown.

And what a travesty it is that we don’t know.  When will this subject get the serious attention it deserves?  In the meanwhile, the next time someone asks you to estimate the colonic pressure of a Chinstrap penguin, you will know to ask, “Do you mean for expelling watery material, or for something more viscous?”

And yes, you may laugh now, but I’m betting that the next time you’re 15 feet upwind of a nesting penguin, this information will be of more than academic interest to you.