The Babel Fish might become a reality!

I was about 13 when I first read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I remember thinking it was so different from anything I'd read before and I loved everything about it. It was the first time I laughed out loud while reading a book. It also made me think. I felt like I knew the characters and was right there with them through their adventures.

But what I really wish I'd had was a Babel Fish.

Well, it looks like technology is getting there. Waverly Labs is developing an earpiece that can translate called Pilot. They explain it like this:

At the convergence of wearable technology + machine translation, the Pilot is the world’s first smart earpiece which translates between users speaking different languages.

This promo video is fun. I want one.

Week 10: Bitcoin, SCUBA diving, and another running app

Newsweek's The Face Behind Bitcoin

I find Bitcoin fascinating. I don't know or understand it enough to make any intelligent comments about it, but I am admittedly captivated the the whole thing. It'll make an awesome movie in a few years.

This article from Newsweek about Satoshi Nakamoto, the man supposedly behind Bitcoin, is a good read. I don't think anybody knows if he's really the one that created Bitcoin, but he sure sounds like he has a great backstory:

Descended from Samurai and the son of a Buddhist priest, Nakamoto was born in July 1949 in the city of Beppu, Japan, where he was brought up poor in the Buddhist tradition by his mother, Akiko. In 1959, after a divorce and remarriage, she immigrated to California, taking her three sons with her. Now age 93, she lives with Nakamoto in Temple City.

The movie is going to be great.

SCUBA divers rescue dolphin

This is from earlier in the year, but I just saw it this week and need to share it. If you read my blog you might know I like SCUBA diving. In this beautiful video a group of divers rescue a Bottlenose Dolphin from entanglement during a dive. Just amazing.

More info at at the Manta Rays Hawaii website. I've bookmarked the site and it's in my list of places to go SCUBA diving.

Rundercover

And if you're a regular reader, you will also know that I'm a runner and have reviewed a few running apps in the past (Zombies, Run!, TrailMix Pro). Well, a few guys got together and want to create a new one called Rundercover. They explain it as a "thrilling interactive audio-game that makes your outdoor exercises more fun and more rewarding".

They have a kickstarter page where they're trying to get funding and an official website.

Rundercover sounds a lot like Zombies, Run! but they're planning on using the motion sensor in the iPhone 5s and GPS to do clever things. It sounds interesting, but it also sounds like it'll be filled with in-app purchases to buy random stuff like guns and tools that you presumably need to complete the missions. It's not really clear to me from the description, but if that's the case I think it'll ruin the experience.

Zombies, Run! does have in-app purchases, but it's only for new missions. That makes sense. Creating a new mission costs a lot of money (writers, voice actors, studio time, editing, development), but buying "stuff" is a totally different thing. It would be awful if it turns out to use the same business model as this little gem.

Elliot Jay Stocks on Responsive web design ➦

Elliot Jay Stocks:

I could go on about why I think Responsive Web Design is a great idea for your websites, clients, colleagues, and of course users, but the thought I’ll leave you with is this:
Create a new HTML document, add some content, don’t add any CSS, and view that document in a browser. What do you see?
The web has always been fluid; we’ve just wasted a good number of years forcing fixed pixels onto an inherently responsive framework. The time to stop is now.

It's an interesting and thought provoking article if you're interested in this stuff. Well worth the read.

Next Gen Ad Creatives Impress With Big Ideas At AKQA's Future Lions Event | Co.Create

Rae Ann Fera at Co.Create:

No longer confined to creating advertising ideas, the next wave of creative minds have their sights sets far beyond simple communications, to broad-based solutions that bring together technology, marketing and behavior in innovative ways. This more holistic approach was very much in evidence among the winners of this year’s Future Lions awards.

Click through to have a look at the winning ideas from Future Lions 2012. Awesome.

The Facebook Fallacy | Technology Review

Michael Wolff writing for Technology Review about the Facebook IPO:

The daily and stubborn reality for everybody building businesses on the strength of Web advertising is that the value of digital ads decreases every quarter, a consequence of their simultaneous ineffectiveness and efficiency. The nature of people's behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command real attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising's impact.

The whole article is worth a read.

The Web Is a Customer Service Medium | Ftrain.com

Paul Ford:

When it arrived the web seemed to fill all of those niches at once. The web was surprisingly good at emulating a TV, a newspaper, a book, or a radio. Which meant that people expected it to answer the questions of each medium, and with the promise of advertising revenue as incentive, web developers set out to provide those answers. As a result, people in the newspaper industry saw the web as a newspaper. People in TV saw the web as TV, and people in book publishing saw it as a weird kind of potential book. But the web is not just some kind of magic all-absorbing meta-medium. It's its own thing.

A great article. Go read it now.

Mind vs. Machine | The Atlantic

Brian Christian in an article titled Mind vs. Machine about his experience participating in the Turing Test in 2009:

In the mid-20th century, a piece of cutting-edge mathematical gadgetry was said to be “like a computer.” In the 21st century, it is the human math whiz who is “like a computer.” It’s an odd twist: we’re like the thing that used to be like us. We imitate our old imitators, in one of the strange reversals in the long saga of human uniqueness.

It's a remarkably interesting article about artificial intelligence and the human condition. Slightly off topic for this site, but definitely worth sharing. I had it in my Instapaper queue and not sure how I came across it.

Apple’s Enterprise Infiltration | Macdrifter

Gabe Weatherhead fromMacdrifter:

Apple didn’t need to push it’s way into the Enterprise. They got the employees to carry them in and then made it so there were few real reasons for IT managers to keep them out.

I couldn't have said it any better. Apple's current products work well in a corporate environment, setting up Exchange is so easy almost anybody can do it without having to ask their IT guys for help. Even Forrester thinks large enterprises should let their employees use Macs

I use a MacBook Air in a mostly PC office with no issues whatsoever. I also have my iPhone and iPad using exchange, but this is not unusual at all. I'd say most people I work with have an iPhone and many have iPads.

What nobody seems to have is a BlackBerry. A few weeks ago I needed to check how a site rendered in BlackBerry. I came out of the conference room and asked loudly if anyone had one. Many ignored me. Most laughed at me.

Bootstrapped Startup Saves Over $100K By Dropping IE | TechCrunch

Tyler Rooney from 4ormat writing at TechCrunch:

In our case, we assumed that nobody in their right mind would want to build a website with IE. Because of that, we saved ourselves countless headaches, a lot of money, and a ton of time. More importantly, we’re happier, better understand our target customer, and spend more of our time focusing on real customer problems.

4format is a service to build online portfolio websites. The sites do work in IE, but their portfolio building interface doesn't.