Sunday, June 20, 2010

D'oh in Japanese

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Every Homer Simpson fan knows the famous catchphrase Homer blurts out whenever he ends up embarrassed or undergoes ill luck, the "d'oh!". This saying has become so popular that it even has a definition in the Oxford English Dictionary:
Expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that one has just said or done something foolish. Also (usu. mildly derogatory): implying that another person has said or done something foolish.
There are a lot of Homer moments when you'll just roll on the floor laughing as he says d'oh. I'm sure you'll laugh just as hard when he says it in Japanese.


The video above is part of Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo, where the Simpsons family spend their vacation in Japan. Naturally the father and son duo, Homer and Bart, instigate trouble which consequently lead them to spend time in jail where they learn Japanese culture. As he shows off what he learned to Lisa by making an origami crane out of their last one-million yen bill, the wind blows it off out of reach. This causes him to d'oh in Japanese.

What Homer really said was shimatta-baka-ni which can be roughly translated as "damn it stupidly". The actual translation of d'oh in Japanese however is dottsu, written in hiragana as どっ! Not convinced? Here's proof.

Looking Back: Kinect was hinted at D5 Conference

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Kinect sensor device
Remember when Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were interviewed together at the same stage? Such a historic event, called the D5 Conference, happened in 2005 and one of the things they talked about is the three-dimensional (3D) interface for personal computers (PC) and post-PC devices. In particular, there are certain hints that Microsoft founder Bill Gates mentioned in the discussion that certainly points to the Kinect for Xbox 360.

Kinect, for those who do not know, is a peripheral/add-on/accessory to Microsoft's gaming platform, Xbox 360. Initially dubbed Project Natal, Kinect allows user interaction with the video game platform without using traditional controllers for gaming and entertainment experience. Instead it utilizes a natural user interface that uses body gestures, spoken commands, and object recognition. The product was first publicly introduced on June 2009 and is set for a November 2010 release date.

So what does Kinect have to do with a discussion that happened about five years ago? Well you need to know what was actually discussed in the interview, so watch the video below. Alternately, there's also a partial transcript that I've taken from AllThingsD website.




Transcript

(Walter Mossberg) Walt : In the offing in the next four or five years, is it possible there’s a new paradigm for organizing the user interface of the personal computer?

Bill: One of the things that’s been anticipated for a long time is when 3D comes into that interface. And there was a lot of experimentation, sites on the Internet where you’d kind of walk around and meet people, but in fact, the richness, the speed, it just didn’t sustain itself. Now we’re starting to see with some of the mapping stuff, a few of the sites, that the quality of that graphics, the tools and things, are getting to the point where 3D can really come in. So I’d definitely say that when you go to a store, bookstore, you’ll be able to see the books lined up, you know, the way you might be interested in or lined up the way they are in the real store.

So 3D is a way of organizing things, particularly as we’re getting much more media information on the computer, a lot more choices, a lot more navigation than we’ve ever had before. And we can take that into this communications world where the PC is playing a much more central role, kind of taking over what was the PBX, sort of one of the last mainframes in the business environment. That will be a big change that will come to it. And as we get natural input, that will cause a change. … Software is doing vision and so, you know, imagine a game machine where you’re just going to pick up the bat and swing it or the tennis racket and swing it.

Walt: We have one of those.

(Kara Swisher) Kara: Yeah. Wii.

Bill: No, that’s not it. You can’t pick up your tennis racket. And swing it.

Bill: You can’t sit there with your friends and do those natural things. That’s a 3D positional device. This is video recognition.

Kara: Steve? I know you’re working on something, it’s going to be beautiful, we’ll see it soon.

Walt: And you can’t talk about it.

Steve: Yeah.

Walt: Bill discusses all his secret plans. You don’t discuss any.

Steve: I know, it’s not fair. But I think the question is a very simple one, which is how much of the really revolutionary things people are going to do in the next five years are done on the PCs or how much of it is really focused on the post-PC devices. And there’s a real temptation to focus it on the post-PC devices because it’s a clean slate and because they’re more focused devices and because, you know, they don’t have the legacy of these zillions of apps that have to run in zillions of markets.

And so I think there’s going to be tremendous revolution, you know, in the experiences of the post-PC devices. Now, the question is how much to do in the PCs. And I think I’m sure Microsoft is–we’re working on some really cool stuff, but some of it has to be tempered a little bit because you do have, you know, these tens of millions, in our case, or hundreds of millions in Bill’s case, users that are familiar with something that, you know, they don’t want a car with six wheels. They like the car with four wheels. They don’t want to drive with a joystick. They like the steering wheel.

And so, you know, you have to, as Bill was saying, in some cases, you have to augment what exists there and in some cases, you can replace things. But I think the radical rethinking of things is going to happen in a lot of these post-PC devices.

A New UI Paradigm

Bill Gates believes that 3D interfaces have long been anticipated and will be the next big thing in the coming years. As he had said, just imagine actually being in the virtual world, doing the walking and other physical actions, instead of just controlling an avatar in your computer. To make it clear, you control a Mii character when playing on the Nintendo Wii. But with Kinect, you will feel like you're controlling yourself instead. Your physical and virtual existence becomes one in Kinect.

What is Missing

Obviously there is something missing from Kinect that fulfills Bill's thoughts for the 3D future: the holographic interface. With Kinect, the computer only sees us doing the actions ourselves, but for us to actually interact with the virtual object just as Tony Stark does, now that's something else.


If Kinect becomes successful... (and I think it will be.)

I know Kinect is only limited to the console Xbox 360. But I'm guessing if this becomes widely accepted by the public, it would be natural for Microsoft to redirect its focus to a 3D interface for the personal computer itself. It is indeed the birth of the next generation gaming and computing, far beyond what Apple and its touch interface (of iPad and iPhone) hope to accomplish. (Sorry Apple fanboys, the truth must be told.)

Optimize Your Blog For Search Engine Results

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If you want your blog posts to place first in search results of Google, Yahoo or Bing, you need to optimize your blog. One particular optimization is modifying what must appear in search results should your posts be indexed by search engines. But why is that? It's because post titles that match closer to the search term rank better.

As a nice example, taken from TycoonBlogger: if you search for make money online, you'll get these results:
Click image to enlarge.
If you'll notice, the top result is a blog with a Blogspot domain, the second still a blog with its own domain, and the third an article from About.com, a more popular website known as a source of information and advice. So how can a blog that is only a subdomain place first? It's because it's a perfect match to the search term.  Similarly, if you want your blog posts place as close to the top as possible, you need to have a close match to terms people likely search for. That also means you need to remove your blog title from the search results.

By default, blogs made in Blogspot have the default format in search results:

Blog Title: Post Title

See all those unnecessary "Conan Hughes" before the post titles?
Click image to enlarge.
You can confirm this by looking at your internet browser's title bar. Bloggers may want to display just the post title instead for three reasons:
  • As I've said before, post titles that match closer to the search term rank better. Your blog name appearing within the search results lowers your posts' ranks.
  • Second, search results are bound to limited character length. When exceeded, the title is truncated and may sometimes become unclear. Blog titles only make search results longer.
  • Third, people want to search for a specific term. Showing the blog title along is somewhat unnecessary.

How to Modify your Blog for Search Engine Results

To modify what the page title of your posts should be, you need to edit your blog's HMTL.

For Blogger,
  1. From your dashboard, choose the blog you wish to modify and click Design.
  2. Under the Design tab are links. Select Edit HMTL.
On the HTML code you need to find

<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>

Replace it with the following:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == data:blog.homepageUrl'>
<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>
<b:else/>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> ~ <data:blog.title/></title>
</b:if>

Understanding the Code

Of course there are people out there curious as to how the replacement code above works. As to what title will be displayed, the browser will have two choices depending on what page you are within your blog. If you are at the homepage, the browser will display your blog title. When you are viewing a subpage/post, what will be displayed in the title bar (and more importantly in search results) is the name of your post followed by the tilde sign (~) and then your blog title.

The Last Step: Patience

If your blog is already indexed in searches, then you will need to wait until the search engines re-index your blog and adjust the results to the recent changes you made. This will take some time so just relax and wait.

Reference: BloggerPlugins.org

Michelangelo's Secret Message to God

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It's God versus Science once again. This time, Science has placed a secret image right in God's face itself. Two American neuroscientists reportedly discovered a well-disguised drawing of a human brain in "Separation of Light from Darkness," by Renaissance painter Michelangelo.
The Separation of Light from Darkness is one of the panels in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It depicts scenes from the Book of Genesis, specifically the first day of Creation when God separated the light from the darkness. The hidden brain image is found in the depiction of God's neck and chin.

Separation of Light from Darkness
Click image to enlarge.
This stunt by Michelangelo is said to be a hidden attack to the Church, which at his time was aggressively oppressing people supporting the advancement of science. Openly showing off scientific information in front of a dominating enemy would have been a mistake, hence the hidden image. 

Michelangelo was not only a painter but also a talented anatomist known for dissecting cadavers, something that is considered unholy. That said, concealing within his own painting some scientific knowledge wouldn't be so hard, according to the neuroscientists Ian Suk and Rafael Tamargo of John Hopkins University School of Medicine. They propose this attack is a reference to the Michelangelo's growing belief that ordinary Christians are able to communicate with God without much help needed from the Church. Talk about separation of light (representing God) from darkness (representing the Church).

Some would say why can't God (through his Church) and Science just stop fighting and make up and hug instead. Science is meant to explain the why and God the how, right? Truth be told I personally think it's over for God. Science can do both, eventually.

If there's a reader there infuriated with what I just said, go ahead and rant in the comments corner.

With images and quotes taken from the Telegraph report.