Archive for the ‘Blogroll’ Category

Getting back into the saddle with voice recognition

March 27, 2011

It’s been nearly a year since I blogged and despite many good intentions I simply haven’t gotten round to writing a post. It seems like it’s part of the nature of blogging or at least my blogging to stop for (long times) and then start again. Today, I’m trying out a new way of blogging by using Dragon Dictate, a simple piece of software for the Mac, which transcribes what I say. It seems funny that 18 years ago I was studying speech recognition in Edinburgh, never expecting that the technology would get so good the general speech recognition would work on a home computer. Yet Dragon Dictate is just about flawless and I can now get text into the computer as fast as I can speak (although clear thinking seems to be a little slower).

11 years ago I ran a project looking at user perception of multimodal interfaces. Despite the lack of deep research, it was prescient in recognising that this would soon become an important part of how we all related to computers. I had no idea at the time that I would be using multi modal interfaces quite so quickly on my iPhone. Nor would I have believed at that time that a few years ahead I would be talking to a computer and seeing my thoughts written word for word on the screen.

Actually using voice as an interface makes the huge investment clearer. I have blogged about Spinvox (not Springboks as Dragon thought) in the past and I’m sure there are other cloud and local voice recognition systems such as the technology that Nuance has built into Dragon Dictate that work just as well. It seems inevitable that Apple must acquire one such technology and that this will become a core part of either iOS and Mac OS, as much or more than touch has become.

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What not to call your blog

September 27, 2008

I thought long and hard about the name of this blog before I started it. Well, not very long. And if I am completely honest, hardly at all.

I figured that I’d be posting about project management, agile software development, money management, line management — I think you see the theme.

After I’d written a few posts I started to get feedback about the name. First subtle (“it’s a bit bland”) then less so (“crap name”) and it only got worse (“what the **** did you call it that for?”). But I reckoned it was not worth changing until I could come up with a better name. Which is where you come in, dear reader.

What do YOU think I should call this blog? I like writing about agile and lean projects, iPhones, mechanical investing, search, crawling, iPhones, software development, natural language processing, machine learning, gadgets, SEM, new business models and … er … iPhones but I’m trying to cut back on the iPhones.

Answers on a postcard or in the comments, please.

Getting back in the saddle again

April 5, 2008

Well, it’s been at least five months since I blogged. This blog, like so many others, has gone ‘dark’. The blogosphere is like an iceberg and most of the blogs that are above water with the lights on are new blogs. Over time, the demands of a work life, family life or social life invade on your blog life and the lights dim and gradually go out. Your blog is dark. I am going to start fitting more blogging and gradually turn the dimmer back up.

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Seasonal Blogging

March 11, 2007

I will freely admit it. I did not actually like reading Seasonal Blogging . It made me think of all the things I dislike most about my blogging when I can’t really think of much to blog about. I’ve been ill for a couple of days: not ill enough to take time off work, but ill enough to mope around the house feeling down in the dumps. I read a lot, but couldn’t think of anything to post about. “Seasonal blogging” is about exactly this.

But the blog that it linked to, Ben Yoskovitz’s 6 Steps To Getting Back Into The Blog Saddle, is great. I am not a post-a-day kind of blogger (as regular readers will have seen). It’s often tough to get to a post-every-couple-of-days. But when i haven’t posted for a week or two, knee-jerk survival instincts kick in and I find myself pondering what exactly i can blog about.

Ben’s suggestions boil down to:
– Invest your time wisely. The best investment returns through a number of great posts.
– Go for quality not quantity

As you’ll see from last post, I steadfastly ignored both rules (with the minor excuse that I had not actually read either of them at the time), but post a link: what Ben calls “content filler”. Ah well, obviously that blew my fragile readership. I can only hope that as my health improves, so do my posts!

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An interesting blog…

March 5, 2007

I haven’t posted for a while, because I have in my spare time been
a) watching my investments plunge downwards and wondering whether I shouldn’t have diversified a little more
b) getting my head around yet more of the Cocoa Foundation framework and Core Data basics. Learning to love that whole Next Step Object thang.
c) reading too many new blogs to mention
…except i’ll mention a couple over the next few days. Mr Anderson’s Agile Management is my main source for these links. (Off topic thought: does David get many The Matrix jokes after it came out; and, what is it that makes us believe we actually know people well enough to make these kind of comments after reading their books or websites a few times?)

I enjoyed a number of articles on Projectized. The English is not always perfect (says my subconscious proofreader) and YMMV on a number of the posts, but there are some good ones in there too.

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January 25, 2007

VentureBlog has some great stuff to say about Jonathan Coulton and CodeMonkey and, as usual, he’s right. As he points out, Jonathon has marketed himself in a particularly successful and simple way: licensing himself Creative Commons license, then blogs about his fans’ music videos, their using it on slideshows, remixing it etc. He’s also got some cracking songs to listen to. More power to him.

How can you not like this?

“Code Monkey get up get coffee
Code Monkey go to job
Code Monkey have boring meeting
With boring manager Rob
Rob say Code Monkey very dilligent
But his output stink
His code not ”functional“ or ”elegant“
What do Code Monkey think?
Code Monkey think maybe manager want to write god damned login page himself
Code Monkey not say it out loud
Code Monkey not crazy, just proud

Code Monkey like Fritos
Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew
Code Monkey very simple man
With big warm fuzzy secret heart:
Code Monkey like you”

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Why do we link in blog posts?

January 24, 2007

Douglas Galbi notes (or should that be motes?) in purple motes » unsocial non-networks that only 2% of blog posts link to other posts or have posts that link to them (via Telepocalypse). His interpretation is that blogging is less a social activity than a means of self-expression.

It’s pretty obvious that a simple way to get your blog more traffic is to have more links into it. After all, this is the way that PageRank works, and apart from Google just about every other search algorithm has some form of estimation of rank authority incorporated in it nowadays. In my head, I differentiate three types of post:

  • original content
  • tracking down and passing on original content
  • both — i.e. where the comments are also valuable

I like all three, but i like to know which I’m dealing with. I firmly believe that either of the first two will create more incoming links than the second, and a blog with plenty of original thought will create more valuable content, in turn getting more links.

I also note that different types of content go stale more quickly over time.

For instance, I blogged about the iPhone a couple of days after it came out. I got a few clicks from Technorati and other blog and search engines since I had tagged my post with iPhone. I’m pretty sure that there will be less clicks on the iPhone tag now that the buzz has died down. Some blogs that I read are almost solely concerned with what’s new, with posts whose value drops within a few days. I prefer blogs which take (relatively) old news but surround it with a good deal more thought. As an example, The Quest for Great Software has few posts and they are posted irregularly — once every one or two months. However, I read posts, the posts which they link to and then re-read the posts again. The posts that are there are so thoroughly saturated with good ideas, great thinking and links to other valuable content, it’s one of my favourite blogs.

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Don Park’s Daily Habit – Visual Security: 9-block IP Identification

January 23, 2007

Don Park’s Daily Habit – Visual Security: 9-block IP Identification is a cute readily identifiable figure (that he hesitantly called identicon) which he creates on the fly from a blog commenter’s IP address with the aim of reducing impersonations.

(via LinkBlog)

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Where to find the books on this blog

January 17, 2007

You’ll find a few links to Amazon spread throughout this blog. Most links will take you to, unless the books aren’t available there in which case they’ll go to, or wherever you can find them. The primary intention is to take you somewhere where you can get the books, not for me to get a cut — although I’m happy to if you are still paying the lowest price. If you know somewhere to get the books cheaper let me know.

Myself, I mostly use O’Reilly’s Safari Books Online. Safari lets you read and search just about any technical book you like. You pay a monthly subscription ranging from $10 to about $35 which gives you from 5 to 30 books respectively on a bookshelf. You can search books that are not on your bookshelf but only read about a page from them. The books stay on your bookshelf for a minimum of a month. You can also download chapters (for an extra subscription cost of $5 per month) and buy the books at a discount to list price. In my experience, you’re cheaper off going to to buy.

The search is really well done. Initially you get suggestions as you type, and then you’ll see all books that mention the search term. e.g. I can search for Xgrid and find a few sections and pages from completely disparate books. Browsing through them, I can add one or two to my bookshelf, and download a relevant chapter for offline reading too.

For me, this works well, since I enjoy dabbling in a range of technical subjects. The breadth of books is stunning. In addition, as you read online, Safari makes (pretty good) suggestions for other books that you might enjoy.

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