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Good Thinking

— Good Thinking

Beyond the keywords: search engines getting smarter

By - June 21, 2007 1 Picture
June 22, 2007 Keyword-based search engines are a huge compromise; think for a moment about the tricks you need to use to get a good specific result from Google. The next generation of search is contextually and linguistically smarter, thinking more like a human and able to chase the meaning of a search term through a document instead of just looking for a handful of words. Xerox's new enterprise FactSpotter engine uses smart semantic and concept parsing to deliver quality search results from huge text databases. Read More
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Celebrating 50 years of Fortran

By - June 20, 2007 1 Picture
June 21, 2007 The programming language Fortran celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, having touched the lives of millions of programmers and billions of people in the half century since. A proposal from IBM employee John Backus to develop an efficient alternative to assembly language for programming the company’s IBM 704 mainframe computer in 1953 resulted in the first specification for the IBM Mathematical FORmula TRANslating System in 1956. The first FORTRAN compiler appeared in April 1957 and the rest is history. To mark the occasion, a special issue of Scientific Programming on the role of Fortran in the scientific programming discipline is being published by IOS Press this month. The issue is dedicated to Fortran creator John Backus and Ken Kennedy, pioneer of Fortran compiler optimization and parallelization. Both highly esteemed scientists died earlier this year. Read More
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Ancestry.com to offer DNA Genealogy

By - June 19, 2007 1 Picture
June 20, 2007 Technology is a wonderous thing, and DNA testing in particular offers us incredible insight into our past – put those results online and create a searchable database and the way is open for reuniting families across the globe through science. That’s exactly what’s about to happen with a new partnership between Ancestry.com and Sorenson Genomics. By taking a US$200 cheek-swab test and comparing results against DNA profiles in a test-results database, each one of us can uncover genealogical associations unimaginable just a few years ago. Initially being in the database might very well be akin to being one of the first to have a telephone (who would you call?), but once numbers reach critical mass, this unique collaboration promises to revolutionize genealogy by allowing people to trace their roots and connect to distant cousins through DNA. This is big and a wonderful example of creative synergy between businesses. Read More
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Two-in-one shoe makes driving safer

By - June 19, 2007 3 Pictures
June 20, 2007 From side air bags to anti-lock braking systems and traction control, technology has delivered a raft of safety enhancing features for motor vehicles, but sometimes accidents occur because of much simpler deficiencies in our driving preparedness – namely our choice of shoes. This issue is especially relevant to women’s shoes where the latest fashion may not be the ideal choice when it comes to controlling an automobile. The solution offered by UK based car insurance company Sheilas’ Wheels is to combine two types of shoe into one – a safe, flat driving shoe that transforms into a stylish pair of heels at the a push of a button. Read More
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DDD Simulation Software for Military and Civilian Teams

By - June 18, 2007 1 Picture
June 19, 2007 As we pointed out last week, the science of building an effective team is often overlooked but we’re pleased to note the release of some new software designed to forge a highly functional team when the job is mission critical. Aptima’s DDD 4.0 is simulation software for military and civilian organizations involved in planning and preparing for complex team-based missions. A desktop software application, DDD is unique in its ability to cover a wide range of scenarios, including AWACS air battle management, civilian disaster response, search and rescue, Joint Task Force command decision-making, and business management. A fully functional 30-day evaluation copy can be downloaded for free ... Read More
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Predictions Exchange game tests ability to forsee tech trends

By - June 14, 2007 2 Pictures
June 15, 2007 Reckon you've got your finger on the pulse of technology and innovation? You can now test your predictions against the world market using PopSci's Predictions Exchange - a free share trading game where you can make virtual profits by betting on the outcome of the Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD war, or whether Google will overtake Yahoo in its number of hits by the end of the year. It's an addictive game and a fascinating insight into consumer confidence in a range of brands and technologies - and if you can pick the "stocks" that are about to swing one way or the other, there's big (virtual) profits to be made! Read More
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Retail evolves: the wireless, handheld store assistant

By - June 13, 2007 3 Pictures
June 14, 2007 A knowledgeable store assistant who knows what to suggest at the right time can mean the difference between a t-shirt sale and a whole outfit - not to mention making shopping a much more pleasant experience for the consumer. Motorola have just released the fascinating new MC17 handheld device for retail outlets that acts as a virtual shop assistant as a customer carries it around a store. Customers can use it to locate items, check pricing, options and availability, see related or complementary items, scan coupons and even whizz through the checkout process - and it's an ideal platform for intelligent cross-promotion and pinpoint-targeted advertising. Read More
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The Mister Money Payday Loan Self-Service Kiosk

By - June 7, 2007 1 Picture
June 8, 2007 The engenuity of man knows no bounds – with secure processes and some multimedia, new machines can reduce a costly and inefficient manual process to zeroes and ones and a few minutes. A shining example of this is Mister Money's AFS self-service kiosk for automated payday loan processing. Mister Money operates in the pawn and subprime lending industries, so it is no stranger to assessing and mitigating risk via a verification, scoring and approval methodology. It has now automated that approval methodology and has been granted a patent on this process, incorporating the lot into in an unmanned kiosk application. The kiosks and loan processing software are available for purchase and licensing. Read More
— Good Thinking

Digital paper with interactivity and sound

By - June 5, 2007 8 Pictures
June 6, 2007 Paper has been the predominant advertising medium since advertising began and despite the likelihood that it will lose that mantle in the foreseeable future, there’s life in the old dog yet. Swedish researchers are showing a working prototype of a fourth generation of paper products that can communicate with computers. By combining paper with printed graphic codes and electronically conductive ink that is engineered to be sensitive to pressure. When the paper “buttons” are touched, the sound is played out via the printed speakers. A video of the paper used in large boards and store displays can be seen here. The technology has obvious application in high-impact point-of-purchase promotional displays. Read More
— Good Thinking

Xerox adds clever anti-counterfeit measures to standard colour printers

By - May 30, 2007 1 Picture
May 31, 2007 Due to the expensive equipment required, anti-counterfeit printing measures have largely been the domain of government money-printing mints. Now, a bit of clever thinking at Xerox has resulted in a new method of using standard colour printer toner to produce flourescent anti-counterfeit watermarking that shows up under UV light, making bogus copies easy to spot. Read More

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