Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cha Cha, Free Web Assistant

Cha Cha is a free service for looking things up on the web, the twist here is that you ask the question by calling a toll free number from your mobile phone, then a human will do a web search for you, sending you the answer as a text message to your phone. See the video below for Mossberg's review of the service.

I've seen several versions of this kind of service over the years. Back in the 90s there was a similar service where you could call and speak to a person directly and they would email you your response. This was a subscription service but it was cheaper than directory service. Of course it went away after the dot com implosion.

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing these guys built the system by using Amazon's Mechanical Turk service as part of the back end.

This service seems to only work in the US. However, it might be possible to sign up as a Cha Cha guide, even if you're outside of the US.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shift Happens

My buddy Stuart recently sent me this video. It's an interesting collection of facts. I was thinking about this today as I went to workout at our club. I nodded hello to the guy who was picking up towels. I realized that he's been working at the club since we joined back in 2003. During that time, I've had 4 different jobs. It must be strange to have the same job for a very long time.

Towards the end of the video there are some quotes which I'm sure come from Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines". Basically the idea is that computing power is going to rival that of the human brain in a few years. And in a few decades, it will rival that of the entire human race. In the second video below, you can watch a recent Bill Gates lecture from Carnegie Mellon University. During the lecture he excerpts a talk from some Harvard researchers who are scanning in a mouse brain as a way of trying to get a handle on how our brains actually work. I think this is how we'll actually get some traction on doing real AI, simply by copying nature. We'll probably get a lot of mileage out copying nature, before we get even an inkling of how brains actually work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Truveo President on SEO

A nice little clip on SEO for Video from Dr. Pete Kocks at Truveo. I don't think I've ever seen Pete in a suit and tie before. Very snappy!

If you want to make sure your video shows up in Truveo, sign up for a Director Account and give them an RSS feed of your content. For more details check out Truveo's Developer Site.

I see that according to the Team Page, Pete is now President of Truveo. Way to go Pete.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

You Suck at Photoshop

My friend Richard sends me some seriously funny stuff. (He should have a blog!) Here's a video he sent me a while back. I finally got around to watching it today. I think you'll like it.