Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I wanted to take a few minutes to write a quick review for one of my favorite podcast. If you have not heard of This Week in Startups (thisweekinstartups.com) you really should check it out. Not only does it give good insight to the fast paced world of Web 2.0 startups it also gives you a glimpse in to the mind of Mahalo (mahalo.com) founder Jason Calacanis (calacanis.com). Jason is accompanied on the show with is right hand Man Tyler and long time Mahalo employee Lon Harris (@Lons).

This Week in Startups has a basic, but entertaining format. The show is broken down in to 4 parts.

1. Ask Jason: Jason and studio answers questions from callers about common issues that someone trying to break in to business with the next big startup might come across. It is cool to hear ground floor advice from knowledgeable individuals who have already succeed in launching numerous startups.

2. The Shark Tank: While a scary name it is probably the best information you will find on how to pitch your idea’s to potential investors. Jason rates pitches on a 1-10 scale with input on what he thinks will help the prospective entrepreneurs. Sometime praise and sometime a reality check Jason give the callers honest information that could help their venture take off. Also, an added bonus is the useful “insights from Tyer” (you will know when they are coming because Tyer has his own intro music. )

3. Studio Guest: Not only do you get Jason and his staff’s informative opinion, but TWiST’s guest are also well know entrepreneurs, Angel investors, and all around internet superstars. Every episode This Week in Startups has top notch guest that help contribute to the show. Some of the more interesting guests IMO are Gary Vee and poker star Annie Duke.

4. In The News (with Lon Harris): To wrap up the show Jason brings out Lon Harris to read current news happenings. With ever headline read aloud Jason, studio guest, and Twist Crew give their personal commentary. While maybe not as informative in the other three segments, this is usually the funniest part of the podcast. This is normal where Jason’s New York cynicism comes out in full force. All it takes is one “idiot” or “idiotic” story to make national news and the TWiST crew will BBQ them! (Yes, Carol Bartz is asleep at the wheel! ep:33)

All in all this is very amusing and educational podcast that can be seen live through uStream (ustream.tv) or downloaded through iTunes (both video and audio only). To can also send question for the show by using the #TWiST hash tag on twitter.

The show is sponsored by:
Bing.com
DNAmail.com
UStream.tv
Powervps.com
Webspy.com
As of this writing the podcast is on its 33rd episode and getting better with every show

Translator APP

Posted: September 25, 2009 in Internet, Technology
Tags: , , ,

So I have this idea that I will probably never make, but I would like to share it.

With all the new technology that is coming out in portable devices I would like to see a Translator app. My idea is to be able to use the cameras on cell phones and OCR technology to translate on the fly. I am not sure how the tech this would be accomplished. The current thinking is that you would need to an internet connection and up load the image to a server for the translation. This would be a good work around until Cell Phone processing power is increased enough to handle it.

He is what I envision; take a picture of something like a menu in a restaurant. The picture gets uploaded to a server and optical recognition software strips the words out and then overlays them back on the image.

Original Picture:

app1

Picture After OCR:

app2

All recognized words are highlighted yellow and words that were not recognized are highlighted blue. From here you can translate the words to various languages.

Translated words:

app3

The translated words pop up over their highlighted counterpart. In this scenario I translated English to Spanish, but the done in reverse. Imagine being in Mexico and your phone was an on the translator. I know there are plenty of apps that translate typed text to you. There are also apps that use OCR technology to pictures of text into editable text. I have not seen one that combines the two technologies together.

Tell me what you think. Is there app out there that already does this? Do you think this is a good idea?

If you have been anywhere near a TV, Radio, or Internet news site you have probably heard the word ConFlicker. I’m not here to talk about this internet terror itself, but I am here to talk about the actions that people are taking. As the title of this post says, the state is scrambling to fix an issue that cannot be fixed. What I mean bythat statement is that although ConFlicker can be stopped technically, it was built to thrive on societal ineptitude of internet culture by means of social engineering. 

The infections scheme is based on Social Engineering concepts. A time honored tradition of thieves, rouges, and conartists. Social engineering has the power to make people accept totally believable, yet factious, stories which gain information and confidence of victims to further the personal greed of criminals. I would like to say that this rare, but with AIG, Madoff, Enron, and Katrina scandals in the news I believe it is more common place now than ever before. Here in America, our society is built on the fact that you’re innocent until proven guilty. I believe that is the correct way to view the world, but this leads us to trust the good in people and hinders our skepticism. This innate idea to trust sometimes blinds us to the reality that there are harmful people, whose only intentions are to steal our identities and money.
Enter Conflicker, a computer worm that infects your unpatched computer through visiting bogus websites setup by hackers. Most people who visit these malicious websites are steered there through cleverly disguised social engineering techniques such as spam emails, hacked accounts social network accounts, and variety of other unassuming methods. 60 Minutes recently did an episode that showed how a hacked Facebook account was used to direct friends of that account to infect websites. As soon as I saw that computer generated Facebook message from the hacked account it sent warning signals off to me, but probably 90% of people would have clicked the link. This type deception is the true danger of Conflicker and other virus like it. The major way the virus is effective is if your unpatched computer is tricked in to visiting an infected site.  
You might be wondering what all this has to do with government. As much as the government tries to patch all their machines and cut internet usage to their workers this will not be enough. Conflicker, while nasty, is not the issue, it’s the methods that spread Conflicker that need to me addressed. Until we start teaching internet users to be savvier or law enforcement can eliminate the threats at the source, Conflicker is just the means of this attack and not the solution for stopping the problem.

So what are we to do about this threat???  It is a two pronged solution, education and punishment. I will not go into punishment here, but I’ll only say that most of these cyber attacks come from Russia and China which we have few options for recourse even if we know who is the criminal. Education, Conflicker is not a technical issue; it is a computer/internet education issue. Patched computers with updated antivirus software are at little to no risk. The systems that are at risk are the ones that do not patch the OS or the Anti Virus protection is outdated. This is why we need to better instruct people why they need to keep their Antivirus up to date. We need to show computers users how to keep their operating systems patched. We need to educate people on what to be suspicious of when they receive emails, IM’s, text messages, tweets, etc…. The power these hacker are given is because overall society of internet users are oblivious to simple, but crucial steps to deter criminals. This is not saying that by teaching the mass how to be safer on the internet will end all problems. There have been and will always be people that prey on the uneducated, the less fortunate, and trusting. 
For> more information on Conflicker or a means of scanning your computer to see if you are infected 
For more information on Conflicker or a means of scanning your computer to see if you are infected read Adrian Kingsley-Hughes – “The ‘no bull’ guide to Conficker

Just an idea

Would anyone be interested in an every other month get together, for 2ish hours, where you would have 3 or 4 people give a 15 minute speech/lecture on a tech type topic and Q&A afterward? Think TED, but local Tallahasseeians giving mini-lectures on technology topics they find relevant. It could be anything they want it to be as long tech play a role in it.

Ideas:

  • Photography and how you use the web to show your work.
  • Digital creation through Photoshop.
  • How to get more followers on Twitter???
  • How to use Twitter to advertise and market.
  • The benefits of using open source technology.
  • How to Partition a RAID 0 disk array.
  • Using Web 2.0 Technologies and Social Media to be more efficient.
  • How to edit music with Audacity. Using technology to enrich church.
  • How to setup a Media Center PC in your Living room.
  • What makes a good password and how to keep your information safe while on line.
  • Spam and Scam how to protect yourself from phishing.
  • How to start a podcast.
  • Whatever………….

 

With the presenters permission we could film it and create a Channel on Youtube to share these presentations.

If you think this might be something that you are interested in please let me know by commenting below or Twitter me @verticalgambit

So, I have been trying this new service from Google called Latitude. Basically, it is a location based social media service that lets you share where you are and what you are doing. Latitude can be used through your phone or the web. The service will be within the RC33 release for Android (Google’s mobile OS). Google announced that this service will also be coming to other mobile devices (iPhone???). After giving Latitude a try (less than a day) on my iGoogle page, it appears to do the basics of every other location based social media application.

 

There are a couple things I can already see that Latitude needs. First, Twitter integration. I would like to be able to update my twitter and have it up Latitude. Even better I would like to use Twinkle on my iPhone to give location data and Twitter updates. Next, it appears right now it I can only update it through my iGoogle on the web. Give me a static Latitude webpage like Calendar, Docs, ect…. Also, when inviting people from my Gmail account please give me a “select all” button for my contacts list! Lastly, integrate my contacts list from all my other social media networks. I need Latitude to grab my Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin, and Ning contact list for inviting people.

 

I have not had a chance to update my Blog in a while and wanted to get something up. I was trying to think, “What can I blog about?”

I came up with nothing. Soooooo, I thought I would pose a few questions and see if I can get some ideas about what to write.

What is your favorite online video (YouTube, Hulu, Veoh, etc…) service?

Do you use a similar micro blogging service to Twitter (Laconica, Jaiku, Pounce, etc…)? If so, how do you use it?

Do you use an online storage site for storing things like files or backups? What site?

What is your favorite online image storage website (Flicker, Picasa, Photobucket, Shutterfly, ect…)?

Is there any online technology that you would like to know more about? I love researching tech, so if you have something that you want to know more about or something I can blog about that people might find interesting please let me know.

 

For all those people (like me) that think Google is hilarious, well they have done it again. Google has launched Mail Goggles. 

 

The officail line from Google 

Google strives to make the world’s information useful. Mail you send late night on the weekends may be useful but you may regret it the next morning. Solve some simple math problems and you’re good to go. Otherwise, get a good night’s sleep and try again in the morning. After enabling this feature, you can adjust the schedule in the “General” settings page.”

Basically this service will deter Gmail users from sending emails in a less that sober state. Once you turn on Mail Goggles, if you attempt to send an email between the hours of 10:00PM to 4:00AM (default time) you will be prompted to answer five math questions wi Emailthin a set time limit.

Unless you turn into Steven Hawking after a Guinness or two, this means it will be harder to send that late night drunken email telling your boss what you really think.

Although this has to be one of the funniest things I heard in a while, I do think this type of precaution can make the Internet better in the long run. Imagine if you are on your favorite forum and they implement this type of functionality. Imagine how many of the eight years old Trolls out there would be out of luck if they had to answer simple math questions.