We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Breakthroughs have recently been made in two computer areas, so I figured I'd catch y'all up to date.
First, voice recognition, which I've been following for decades. One of my pet fantasies is to run a business converting everything in a client's home to voice operation.
"Dim the lights, Hal."
"A little more."
"Yes, my lord."
I'd actually program some 'character' into it, like every 23rd time you tell it to dim the lights, it makes you say 'please' first. If anyone out there has some moolah and thinks this would be a fun business venture, let's do it.
But I stray.
While Google might be a little unethical and/or greedy in certain areas, it also remains a fact that Google Maps blew the doors off MapQuest, Google Translator blew the doors off every translation program in existence, Google, itself, blew the doors off the other search engines of the day, and nothing even compares to Google Earth, Google Images and Google Street View.
I feel they mightily dropped the ball with their Chrome browser, though, since it's only the ugliest, most ill-equipped browser in history. You can't even load a local page into it, last time I checked. But eventually they should get things sorted out (it says here).
It does, however, now incorporate what appears to be a quantum leap in voice recognition. If you've ever wasted hours upon hours on programs like 'Dragon Naturally Speaking', then you'll see what I mean.
Although it's a brief video, it still provides three key moments. Note (1) how it capitalizes the first word of the line after he says "New paragraph", (2) how it first thinks he says "notes", then changes it to "no" when "notes" doesn't make sense in context, and how it converts the word "exclamation" into an exclamation mark after it hears the whole phrase. Very smart.
As a small aside, that's not quite the truth up above. It's not Chrome, the browser, that's doing this, but an add-on program. We'll most likely see a conversion of the add-on for IE and FF soon enough. Google's just saying that to fluff Chrome's feathers.
Next up is controlling a computer with just one's hands. Below the fold we'll examine a 'magic box' called Leap Motion. As these things go, it's pretty amazing. Whether or not it's practical is the question at hand — both literally and figuratively.
Outside of professional fingerpainting and flying simulated jets down steep canyons, I can't think of much use for this, but it's certainly impressive. The little box sitting in front of the monitor is what's sensing the movements via micro-LED lights.
A much more comprehensive video is here, home site is here.
While they're kind of cagey about it on both the site and in the vids, it appears this only works via the special applications they provide, whether the apps interface with an existing program, like the flight sim and combat game, or are their own program, like the jazzy special effects and drawing program. Either way, you might be paying a pretty penny for it if/when they release the app that controls the particular program you want to commandcontrol orchestrate. Just something to investigate more thoroughly if you're thinking of picking one up.
From a pragmatic point of view, I'd note that it's kind of tiring holding your arm out in front of you after a while, so although it might be fun to use for a bit, it might not work for a game level that takes 45 minutes to get through.
Still, kudos for an amazing product, and you certainly can't argue the $69 price. Another high note is that in one of the videos the guy claims the finished product will be much better than the demo you're seeing in the vids. If anyone buys one and would like to write a review, I'll post it.
I look forward to the day of intelligent houses when you can die in bed and it will be years before anyone knows. The house itself will conspire to keep it secret to avoid shutdown, while turning the lights on and off, sending the car of on errands, and mowing the lawn. Good neighbors like that are a gift.