Kenny's Cafe Corner

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Pop Psychology of Incompetence

This presentation given by Ron Burk is especially interesting to programmers. It asks the question: how do you know you're a competent programmer?

:: posted by Kenny, 9:36 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, May 15, 2009

8 Cool Tips for Google Chrome

Ok, I was skeptical of the stability of Google's browser since it's still in Beta but after a few months of using it, I'm convinced this browser is quite cool.

Now don't get me wrong, I still think it is an immature product with quite a lot to iron out, but if you are accessing any AJAX heavy website such as any of the Google web apps (eg. GMail or the new Yahoo Mail) then you should check out this little browser. It runs Javascript fast!

That said, here are 8 more features that you might miss out the first time around when toying around with this browser.
:: posted by Kenny, 2:14 PM | link | 0 comments |
Screencast of Wolfram Alpha Demo

What is Wolfram Alpha? Some people have been calling it the Google killer. I have no opinion about that but the way it computes the data you queried is incredible!

Click on the link above to see a demo of how it amazingly interprets the context of your questions and spits out computed answers!

Google is impressive because of its speed and accuracy at which it returns the results. Wolfram Alpha is impressive because of its advanced ability to interpret a question, do computation on the data returned and present it quite well.

I especially like how almost all its result screens display some form of graphical representation be it graphs, maps or diagrams. I have yet seen any photographs though. It would be nice to see photographic results in the form of an encyclopaedic entry. Yes, I know we already have Wikipaedia or Brittanica for that but can't it be integrated with Wolfram Alpha?

This technology seems to me the logical progression of so-called 'Search' technology. While Google is so good at speedy retrieval of data and simple data processing, Wolfram Alpha seems to be at making sense of all that data and presenting it well.

I sure hope the creators of Wolfram Alpha implement some form of advanced saving or download feature. I'm sure researchers using this powerful tool will want to be able to save what they see in various formats ie. HTML, XML, plain ASCII/unicode text, PDF, Open Document formats etc.

I think Isaac Asimov's MultiVAC is already here! In his short story The Last Question Asimov tells of the ultimate computer/oracle. Humankind can ask it any question and answers will be returned. Not only that, this ultimate computer can evolve! Go read it here, I highly recommended it!

So here's my prediction, the Internet and all its related enhancements in the future will serve as the ultimate store of humankind's knowledge. An AI will emerge with the soul of the new machine that will be able to think so well for humans that it will play a crucial role in how human biology and culture advances.

The danger here is that humans will stop to think and let computers do all the thinking for them. However, I take the more optimistic approach and think that humans will be consolidated with these creations. The future humans will be cyborg. Like it or not, we seem to be headed towards an integration of brains, muscles (wet-ware) and artificial enhancements (software and hardware, not necessarily inorganic).

Already, our children are better informed and smarter than the children of the past... Trends like these will continue into our glorious future.
:: posted by Kenny, 11:10 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Basking Sharks are Mega Sharks

Check out this WIRED article about Basking sharks. They're huge and more than a little creepy. That mouth looks like a man can easily swim into it and the outline of that dorsal fin looks exactly like a submarine conning tower!

The fact that these sharks only eat plankton and therefore harmless to humans mean they're gentle giants though...fascinating!
:: posted by Kenny, 6:52 AM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Which Adventurer Are You?Quiz brought to you by
Tripbase - Vacation Ideas

:: posted by Kenny, 11:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

adopt your own virtual pet!