The blogosphere and twitterati are calling it “magic software”. If you think it’s surprising that even in this day and age, with all the capabilities of software, one can still consider some piece of software as magical, then you have to try it out to believe it.
Quest Visual, a startup comprising all of two people, are the ones behind all the buzz.
They have released an iPhone application called “Word Lens”. Word Lens is an Augmented Reality application which does language translation in real-time video. Real-time video translation is a difficult feat especially when done using the computing power of only an iPhone. To top this, Word Lens does not even require any network connectivity. So there is no time lag of getting information from the Internet and then displaying it, which is usually common for Augmented Reality applications.
If you are still not convinced, check out these videos of Otavio Good, one of the founders of Quest Visual , demoing “Word Lens”.
As per Otavio, the application is still in it’s initial version and needs a lot of improvement with text recognition , speed and the number of language it supports.Word Lens is currently supported on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 3G.
It is left to one’s imagination how useful this application can get. Right from reading restaurant menus to road signs, it can become an indispensable tool for tourists.
With plans to be able to look-up the words on say, Wikipedia, read fine-text accurately and support a lot more languages, I think this application which topped the charts on the App Store, sure has a lot of potential.
You can directly download Word Lens for the iPhone from here
Although my previous guess was incorrect, at least it stuck to being from the gaming world. YouTube user Tritext989 used Redstone (a kind of material that can be made into circuits. More info here) to make a circuit that plays the song Still Alivefrom the game Portal composed/sung by Jonathan Coulton. Before you ask, yes it is pretty good even though it’s just the intro part.
If you want to know how to craft your own note blocks and how to tune them, this video handles it quite well.
If you want to skip making your own song and just play what Tritext989 has made on your own computer (not as a video), the original map file has also been linked to by the gracious creator. Download the map from our servers here.
To play this map, go to the .minecraft folder and unzip it to the Saves’ folder in that directory. Rename the file to World[1-5] (i.e. World1 or World2 or World5; the game only acknowledges the numbers 1 to 5).
On a Windows machine, the .minecraft folder is in your AppData directory. Simply run WinKey+R and type %appdata% and press enter.
On a Mac, the saves are in this folder: ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/saves/
Google has announced that it will be dropping support for H.264 in future versions of Chrome, and instead focus on high quality open codecs. Although Google’s announcement is surprising, it’s not completely unexpected. Last year, Google spent a fair amount of cash to acquire On2, the startup behind VP8. Later, Google unveiled its own open source codec called WebM, based on On2’s VP8. Now that WebM has begun to witness increasing amounts of hardware support, as well as improvement in performance, Google obviously feels that the time is right to put its foot down.
The core issue with H.264 has been that it is proprietary. Last year, MPEG-LA made H.264 royalty free forever for free web broadcasts, in an attempt to counter WebM. However, even that move was deemed insufficient since it didn’t include applications that encode and decode video, as well as commercial broadcasts. It also didn’t alleviate the threat that some other patent holding body might come calling.
Chrome will now join Opera and Firefox as browsers supporting only open video codecs, i.e. Theora and WebM. Microsoft had earlier announced that it will be supporting both H.264 and WebM in Internet Explorer 9, provided that the codec for the latter is installed on the system. Apple, which has been pushing for HTML5 <video> as an alternative to Flash, has been a steadfast supporter of H.264. It will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future as hardware decoding support (which is crucial for portable devices like the iPod and the iPhone) for WebM is still fairly limited.
Although Google’s decision to drop H.264 support from Chrome represents a major setback for H.264, don’t expect it to disappear immediately. Apple’s dominance over the mobile devices segment, and the lack of WebM support in tablets and phones is something Google will have to contend with.
Skype has acquired the mobile video streaming startup, Qik. Earlier, the acquisition price was reported to be around $100 million, but BI has confirmed it to be $150 million with an earnout.
Qik has been a very strong mobile player and has a huge presence in the mobile video streaming and sharing segment. It has close to 5 million users and is available on multiple platforms including Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Blackberry.
Through this acquisition, Skype hopes to “leverage the engineering expertise that is behind Qik’s technology, which optimizes video transmission over wireless networks”. The acquisition of Qik will “accelerate Skype’s leadership in video by adding recording, sharing and storing capabilities to Skype’s product portfolio”.
RIM has released yet another video of their tablet, the Blackberry Playbook. It has been launched right before CES 2011 starts, before all the Blackberry Playbook buzz is drowned out by the slew of tablet launches.
It showcases the Blackberry web browser which has both Flash and HTML 5 video capabilities. They have also demonstrated how well Flash works on the Playbook, using Flash games on Facebook.
It is way better than the iPad, atleast as far as Flash content is concerned. The web browser seems great and is very fast and responsive.
Check out the Blackberry Playbook Web Fidelity video here.
I tried making the title better than URLesque’s, and as you can see, I failed miserably. Let’s face it, nothing introduces the video below better than Guy puts camera at the end of sword, takes awesome video. That title is full of #win.
So, what happened? Exactly what the title says. At Swordfish 2010, the Historical Martial Arts conference that takes place in Gothernberg, Sweden, a few people had a wacky idea of duct taping a GoPro Hero wearable sports camera at the end of the sword. They taped it well enough that even with fast moves, the camera does not budge from its place. While the Swordfish event itself is a serious and well known affair, the people who put the camera on the sword added fun to the seriousness of the conference.
As a result, the people around the sword seem to be revolving and spinning around the camera (while it remains stationary). Three people try out the sword-cam, each with different speeds. It’s almost like a level advancement, as each user figures out that the camera is not going to budge and notches up the speed.
The good folks at the University of Nottingham have put together sixty videos on a variety of topics, aiming to educate you (the young learner with a rapt internet-induced attention deficit), on some of the most mind boggling facts and facets of our science.
In other words, we live in a very very strange universe filled with squiggly diagrams and improbability that approaches Douglas Adams’ metaphorical science fiction escapades. Everything from SchrÃ¶dinger’s Cat, infinity, vuvuzelas, quantum tunneling and Feynman’s squiggly diagrams have been put up in a mysterious-looking site.
Each video has an assortment of nerdy scientists explaining each phenomenon in the most non-confusing way possible (which is a paradox in itself, because trust me nothing is crazier than quantum physics. Nothing). The scientists, however, have done quite a marvelous job at explaining these concepts fairly well, and the project page itself is quite friendly:-
Ever been confused by all the letters and squiggles used by scientists?
Hopefully this site will unravel some of those mysteries.
Sixty Symbols is a collection of videos about physics and astronomy presented by experts from The University of Nottingham.
They aren’t lessons or lectures – and this site has never tried to be an online reference book.
The films are just fun chats with men and women who love their subject and know a lot about it!
Phew, I am glad that I lost at this, but Notion Ink‘s demo for the Adam tablet is finally out. The device looks amazing and has some nice features. It supports external mouse to make browsing easier, it shows off how much Android can be customized.
Well, more on that coming in a bit. In the meantime watch the video below courtesy Android Police. If you can’t watch the video below, click on this link.
Update: There is a second video which is of higher quality, you can check it out below. If you can’t see any of the videos, click on this or this link.
I come across several articles everyday which are interesting to read, but cannot at that moment, due to lack of time. Thanks to services such as Instapaper, I am able to save that webpage URL and read it at a later time from anywhere. Of course, I could do that for pages with videos too, however, not the videos directly.
Today, I came across an interesting discovery on YouTube where they seem to be testing a new feature which will allow users to watch a video later on by queuing it to their profiles using a “Watch Later” option. The “Watch Later” option is seen as an overlay on the video itself.
When I clicked on “Watch Later”, nothing out of the ordinary happened, except for + sign disappearing from the box. However, I looked high and dry through my YouTube profile but could not find the location where the video was saved so that I could watch it at a later time. I believe that Google is basically just testing this feature out right now to see how many people are keen on using it.
I will keep digging around and update this post when I come across more information on this and where the “Watch Later” videos are actually saved.
Update: It looks like Google is testing this for couple of days now. I saw a post on YouTube forums and Yahoo Answers on this topic. I also found that the new YouTube homepage does not seem to show you the “Watch Later” videos. However, if you switch back to the old homepage, you will see the video as seen in the screenshot above.