Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Innovation gagged ?

Here you can read the entire article which I consider to be a brilliant piece. Thanks to Alexandru Popescu for twitting it (I've made a habit thanking him for sharing so I'd better set up a daily cron job to do that for me :-D ). What hit me very hard and almost made me feel bad (heaving a 6 years old daughter) was the following bit which I find to be astonishing:
If you look at 4 year olds, they are constantly asking questions and wondering how things work. But by the time they are 6 ½ years old they stop asking questions because they quickly learn that teachers value the right answers more than provocative questions. High school students rarely show inquisitiveness. And by the time they're grown up and are in corporate settings, they have already had the curiosity drummed out of them. 80% of executives spend less than 20% of their time on discovering new ideas.

I always though that lack of innovation is deeply linked to the social factors as poverty in under-developed countries where 80% of the time you must actually think of how to survive. Instead I learn it's very deep in our "organization" as a species. SCARY !

What do you value ? The right answers or the atypical / provocative questions ?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Most people ...

... never learn.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I asked a very talented friend of mine to do a drawing for me, called suggestively "Android". Here it is. You've got to love this guy, really:

Here are few other works he's done, enjoy :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Android in "exotic" usage scenarios

I've seen some very cool usages for the Android so far, let aside the mobile phone platform:

1.) Business Desk Phone/Organizer looks really good !
2.) Video / Gaming platform , needs a lot more work but hey ! At least it's something
3.) Not that exotic but still kickass :-D - Archos internet tablet, eat that Apple :-D
4.) Barnes & Noble eReader - Nook
5.) M Tube MID anyone ? MID shares media with TV set via gestures.

Anyone knows of any other usages ?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Android vs iPhone success - phone producers are not getting it

When designing a smartphone you should look at the most simple, stunningly obvious fact: that it lets you build something soooo far from a PHONE. Fuck the phone! It's an aged, expired concept. It's dead !

The iPhone's success is due to the fact that it is NOT a phone. Let aside the design of it, which is brilliant just as most of Apple's designs, I won't write a 500 pages paper about why the hell it's so nice. It just is ! And still Motorola Cliq is nowhere near it. And so is the LG GW620 (Btw could LG have found a name that is harder to remember ?! Hardly !). Hell, even HTC models, aside Hero, are not getting it entirely. However, from all the Androids out there, HTC Hero "gets it" the most.

So all Smartphone designers out there please stop embarrassing yourselves and stop designing Phones ! Yes. Drop the Phone concept altogether because the most successful Smartphone(TM) out there, the iPhone, is not a phone. Just as iPods are not mp3 players ! Ah, another example at least by the looks, Zune is stunningly beautiful.

Just go out there, find some punks in the streets, catch them graffiti-ing the walls and ask them what would they like at a device that would, amongst others, allow them to socialize online, listen music, twitter, face-book, or look fancy. And they will not point to any Cliq or LG GW 620 ppx trgg 55.

Android is a platform that you can build upon. It's been proven. Use it but for fuck's sake STOP DESIGNING PHONES ! The iPhone showed you all that people want much more than a phone. Give it to them. And something beautiful will arise finally. The days of the phone are over. Let there begin the days of the smartphone, call it the Phone 8.0 (Laugh, Mr. O'Reilly is gonna come after me =)) ) or whatever you want.

Aside design, iPhone is about the way you interact with it. It allows grown-ups to be children again, be able to play again. You touch it, slide it, zoom it, talk to it. Nevertheless they may do useful stuff but it lets you play, relax, feel good when using the device. The virtual keyboard is something that should be embraced, stop designing phones with touch screen AND QUERTY or whatever fucking sliding keyboard ! You are defeating the purpose of the touch screen. Why do you have it if you don't use it ?

In the iPhone / Android era, which started a while ago and is happening right now, the phones are all free. Cause nobody will buy them anymore. You'll get a bag of phones with a $4 subscription (massive laugh here). If you want just a phone, the chip and the battery fits into the volume control of your headphones.

Read my lips: The phone (as we know it) is dead. Sooner you realize, better for your sales.

The (short) quest of Speech Recognition on Android

Well yeah, speech recognition is possible BUT apparently it is handled by default by the Google Voice Search package (I am not 100% sure but it's all I have learned till now, read this for example) which is available only for the brave :-D. And I am weak.

So I am currently investigating other ways of implementing it. There would be two main directions to investigate:

1.) Perform the speech recognition on the device - I'm not sure how practical this is, would certainly eat up a lot of CPU/battery, if possible at all. However I didn't find any resource on this, at least not yet and not for Android.

1.1) As an intermediary step maybe it would be easier to implement recognition for a limited vocabulary for which you would store sound/text values, record voice and try to match the recorded sound against the existing entries. This may work, the issue here would be analyzing/matching the two sound samples.

2.) Capture a sound file/stream, upload it to a server, convert it to text and get the text back. I found Sphinx as a possible server side package to do the speech recognition and get the text back, but there are some drawbacks to this approach: you need a server, you need bandwidth (3G, Wifi I'd say) and you need to convert from the capture format on Android (3GPP, mpeg whatever) to the formats supported by Sphinx which is dependent on JavaSound (cringe!), these being aiif, au and wav.

However for the 2.) point there is a slight advantage in being able to choose the server platform/package which would not need to be Java (I specifically looked for Java, Sphinx 4 is Java) and I assume that speech recognition efforts have been made in other languages too.

Has anyone else tried/thought of doing something similar ?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The danger of becoming "social"

I've been working on getting up to date with the "social web" lately, you know, twitter etc. And I realized this morning that I checked twitter and another dozen of social or news sites before starting work (well I always do that, nothing new here) but something was missing ... umm what ? And then I suddenly realized. I forgot to check email :-D . That must mean something.

Amongst others, it means Google Wave launch is long over due as it will, hopefully, allow to see them all in one place, and not only see them but also collaborate, share, whatever, not sure of all this 2.0 thing :-D. And if it doesn't, well, we'll see how we can help it :-D