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Showing posts from December, 2008

Noted: Softbank's Speeek iPhone App Translates Spoken Japanese to English On the Fly

"Noted" items are interesting items that come from my daily RSS feed reading and added to my Google Reader Shared Items . You can also receive these Noted items by following me on Twitter . Softbank's Speeek iPhone App Translates Spoken Japanese to English On the Fly [IPhone Apps] from Gizmodo by John Mahoney Speeek is an app that can recognize up to 1,500 spoken Japanese phrases and translate them into either English or Chinese. Pocket Babel Fish? Yes please. This is, of course, only for Japanese speakers, and it only covers basic hello/goodbye/where is the bathroom type phrases, but this doesn't seem like too far of a leap for Google's voice search app, which would be pretty exciting. Even if it didn't read the words back to you—seeing your jibber jabber translated in close to real time into any one of Google Translate's 34 languages, well, sign me up. The app costs around $20 in Japan, and the English and Chinese versions are separate. [ BBSS (transl

New Wells Fargo Envelope-Free ATMs confuse users

Wells Fargo ATMs now take a stack of checks at one time, but confuse many users For the record, I think the new Wells Fargo Envelope-Less ATMs recently installed in our California branches are pretty neat. First it saves the need for an envelope (and I am sure it makes it easier for bankers to not have to open all those envelopes). Next, you can get a receipt that lists not only each check and its amount, but it will even print out an image of the check on the receipt itself. Pretty cool! Of course, as with any new technology, there seems to be a bit of confusion when using these new ATMs. I first noticed this when my wife complained about having to hit so many buttons to deposit several checks. Now, I had been to the new ATM and even as a tech geek I had to read the directions carefully, but in the instructions it says to insert all your checks or cash at one time, in a stack with the account numbers arranged along the right hand edge. I think the confusion arises as we are not us

Lego Mindstorms NXT - A Great Gift!

Listen to Lego Mindstorms NXT - A Great Gift! My wife and I think we did the coolest thing for Christmas this year...and we think our son agrees. In lieu of the Nintendo Wii hs "really, really, really, really, really wants", we gave my son Lego Mindstorms NXT for Christmas. This is a starter kit which contains tons of special Lego parts and, most importantly a computer "brick" and a variety of sensors (light/color, ultrasonic, touch, sound) which can be used to build programmable robots of all shapes and sizes. My son had attended the short Legoland course on Mindstorm and also did a week-long Summer Camp where he got to design his own fighting robot, so the minute he opened the box Christmas morning he was off and running. On Christmas Day he built the first of 3 included robot plans and we quickly had them doing all sorts of things, You first assemble a basic robot and then run it through a series of demos to learn how all the sensors work. Then you build a mo

Elsewhere Online: Boost your PowerPoint Skills

This is an interesting post from Lifehacker that seeks to improve those all-important Powerpoint skills. It seems that everyone needs to use Powerpoint these days, so why not make your presentations the best that they can be. I'll be working through this blog post myself once I get a few free minutes. Boost Your PowerPoint Skills Inside PowerPoint 2007 [Powerpoint] from Lifehacker by Kevin Purdy Are you decent with a bulleted list in PowerPoint 2007, but need to get a bit more creative? You can learn how to pull off a few useful effects right inside the program. Microsoft's Office Online team provides eight instructional PowerPoint templates that teach you how to pull off the effects demonstrated inside them. They'll show you where to click, what to enter, and you don't have to switch between instructional videos or text and your app. 3D shapes and graphs, backgrounds, process graphics, and more are free for the download. Example slide effects with instructions [Mic

Cool: Laser Cut Gingerbread Bridge from Instructables.com

Another cool project from Instructables.com. Food and tech merge! [slideshow] Laser Cut Gingerbread Bridge from explore by rstraugh This year for Christmas I decided to build something out of gingerbread. I didn't want to build the typical gingerbread house so I decided to do a bridge of some sort. I saw the Oberbaum Bridge in Berlin when we were there in May and thought it would look great built out of gingerbread. I recentl... By: rstraugh

Merry Christmas from WelchWrite.com

We present our 3rd Annual LIVE Reading of Dicken's A Christmas Carol from Sunday, December 21, 2008 as our holiday present to you. You can listen to the audio or watch the video from uStream.tv. Presented by WelchWrite.com Music courtesy of Incompetech.com Listen: A Live Reading of Charle's Dickens A Christmas Carol Click Here to Watch and Listen

Douglas' Noted Items

As I read through my RSS feeds each day, I always find a number of interesting items. Google Reader allows me to easily "share" these items, both within Google Reader itself and at this web page and RSS feed . To the right you will find a widget containing my latest "Noted" items and a link to see even more. I found them interesting and I bet you will, too! Subscribe to the RSS feed to track what I find interesting every day.

Elsewhere Online: Green Gift Guide from Make

Another great gift guide I came across today. The green gadget gift guide at MAKE - Environmentally friendly for the holidays! from MAKE: Blog by Phillip Torrone It's that time of year again so why not start it off with a guide to the greenest gadgets this holiday season! MAKE intern Peter Horvath and Jill Fehrenbacher of Inhabitat.com and Greenergadgets put together an amazing list!

Cool: Uncle Mark 2009 Gift Guide and Almanac

The item below is a great reminder why I subscribe to so many RSS feeds. There is so much great information on the Internet, but it can be hard to find. That is where your online and IRL (In Real Life) friends comes into play. They can direct you towards stuff you might otherwise have never noticed. (Want to subscribe and manage your own RSS Feeds? Check out Google Reader ,  this Intro Video and this great video, RSS Made Simple from Commoncraft.com ) Enjoy the Uncle Mark Gift Guide , which I discovered via the Make Magazine blog. I attached a copy to this email. Even better, share it with your friends. Douglas< Uncle Mark 2009 Gift Guide and Almanac from MAKE: Blog by Gareth Branwyn Today's Cool Tool mailing reminded me about one of my favorite year-end publications: the Uncle Mark 2009 Gift Guide and Almanac. Put out yearly (this year and last, anyway) by Mark Hurst, who runs the Gel Conference , this guide is tremendously unglamourous (in a great way). Uncle Mark 20

End-of-Year Cleanup and Catchup

I recently sent this email to all of my computer consulting clients, but thought you might find it interesting as well. http://welchwrite.com - douglas@welchwrite.com - 818-601-0051 Reminders As we approach the end of 2008, I want to take the time to issue some timely reminders that can help to keep your computer in top operating condition. Every day there are a myriad of new attacks on your computer and you need to protect yourself accordingly. Windows Updates You first line of protection against viruses and spyware is to keep your Windows computer up-to-date. Windows Updates plug known security holes that can allow some nasties to "force feed" themselves to your computer. No matter what protection programs you have installed, if you do not have your Windows Updates installed, you are still vulnerable. Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Every Windows computers needs anti-virus and anti-spyware installed. I have switched over entirely to free solutions for this prote

Noted: Puredyne Turns Any Computer into a Multimedia Powerhouse

Noted items are interesting finds from my daily RSS reading -- Douglas Puredyne Turns Any Computer into a Multimedia Powerhouse [Featured Download] < from Lifehacker by Jackson West If you're looking to get some more use out of an old machine, or just play around with multimedia programs but not interested in shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars, download Puredyne. Based on Debian Linux, the downloadable disk image fits on a standard CD-R and will boot on almost any machine — you can even run it on your current system without having to partition any drives or re-install your operating system. The distribution includes all the software a multimedia maker might need, including Kino and Cinelerra for video editing; Audacity and Pure Data for audio; and GIMP and Inkscape for images, along with other fantastic open-source tools ranging from software synthesizers and drum machines to BitTorrent clients and encoding tools. Since all the software is free, it's perfect

Apple/Mac/Etc Geek Wear for the Holidays

Design-Milk.com highlights http://www.geekware.ca/ , the epitome of Mac Geek Wear. I don't need cufflinks, but maybe something in a lapel button or something? Even more Geek Ware from the same company over at http://www.geekware.ca/ Click the photo to see more and buy