Posts Tagged ‘innovations’

What does a neural network dream of?

“Was immer du hier siehst, verändere das Bild so, dass es stärker wird!” lautete die Anweisung der Google-Forscher an das neuronale Netzwerk. Und so fing das Netzwerk an, die Formen der Wolken auf dem Bild zu interpretieren: Was etwa ein bisschen nach Vogel aussah, wurde noch vogelähnlicher gemacht. So “malte” das künstliche Gehirn allerlei Fantasiewesen und Gebäude, die es zu erkennen glaubte. | – © Google Research

Google made multiple layers of neural networks analyze images and emphasize what they “think” they found in the pictures. The result is really impressive even though some of the pictures they were fed contained nothing but white noise to begin with. One could argue if that’s how AI dreams are made… well, and maybe even our own?

Hacking QR Codes

They are everywhere! Even the new business cards of my company has a QR-Code on the back now. The most prominent application for them must be in advertisement, where the little block of visual bits forms the connection between print media and online content. The idea is simple: For example, on some poster that already got your attention they put this square of black and white spots. With a camera and an app on your mobile (for example Barcode Scanner on Android) you take a picture and *bam* your phone has just decrypted the URL within the code, which you can then visit without typing a single letter. Basically it works like a Barcode but with two dimensions. The one on my business card contains all my contact information, so you don’t have to scan it or even type it into your phone.

Now this dude, found out that according to the specification, a lot of the code (up to 30%) can be “unreadable” by the phone and still be decoded. So he did the obvious, he put some stuff inside the code like so:

You should try it yourself, it actually still works and in this example gives you the URL of Mozilla Firefox if you scan it. This is actually a pretty sweet idea and if I would make my own business cards with a QR-Code on them, i would definitely integrate a logo like this as well.

Read the full Article with all the explanation why and how it works on

Check out The Top 10 QR-Code Generators in case you would like to try creating your own Codes. In addition, here is a small clip of another interesting application of QR-Codes in Korea where you can go shopping in a virtual store.

Exoskeleton for your Gaming Needs

I couldnt help but smiling throughout the whole reading of this product’s description: Razer announces a sci-fi glove thingy ‘Razer Talon’ where you put your fingers into some sensors and by your ten finger’s movement it is supposed to increase your APM (Actions Per Minute) up to some mad 3.000! That would be about 10x more than pro gamers and around 30x more than average gamers. Although APM is especially important in games like starcraft (which i am not so interested in currently), i find this product really cool. There is even an option to set the glove to “massage” mode where the input becomes an output, relaxing your worn off hands in between matches! Just fantastic idea!! But then again, it is 1st April today…

[via Razer]

If you are not familiar with APM then you should check out this south korean master in starcraft telling you what it is:


Open = Evil?

Seriously. W.T.F.! Why are Apple Fanboys™ so afraid of open systems? Blogs and tweets are full of hate against open systems now. Did i miss on something that changed lately? Especially with the rise of Android (which just surpassed sales of the iPhone™ this year in Switzerland) the iPhone™ users seem to start to panic. Stop that! Why panic?! Just choose which phone works best for you! Is using the best phone on the market suddenly a sacrilege? Reminds me pretty much of some more radical religions… Why do you think people start switching to something like Android?  The iPhone™ is just perfect, right? No, it is not! And before you can even type a comment: no, the Android is not perfect either!

So what is it then? It’s not the slicker user interface! Not that the UI is that bad on Android, but to be honest the apps on iPhone™ just are a bit more sexy. No, I believe it is the fact that users realize that open stuff does give you some freedom and responsibilities – both of which getting taken away from people more and more in all aspects of life. Here is a list of things i believe are the most important reasons users start switching from iPhone™ Religion to Freedom, I mean… Android now:

  1. A lot of apps which are available on both phones are either cheaper or even free on Android
  2. You (as the user) are not forced to give your identity to anyone on Android
  3. You can choose the source of your apps on Android, on iPhone™ there is only the App Store™, which is heavily observed and controlled by Apple™
  4. You can choose the hardware that you like the most (for example do you prefer softkeys or keyboard, you want more battery life or 20cm HD display, you like to fold the phone somehow to cover the display? You want it to come slim or in cubes? Round or edgy? European or Asian?)

Please follow a clockwise path through the Temple™ while gently touching each of the relics on the tables in order to receive your personal blessing from Our Guru™.

Just recently the Apple Fanboys™ among my friends started complaining about the huge number of phones available with Android. I must admit that a lot of things to choose from might be overwhelming especially if you are not very informed in that particular area of expertise, but on the other hand it’s also not that difficult to browse some forums, go to a store and listen to the experts there and then just choose (!) a phone. In fact, you can choose depending on your taste or experience with other phones before – and it is not dictated to you what you should like from now on. By this process, some phones get more popular than others and those are the ones that evolve. Good concepts are taken over to the next generation of other phones as well, the rest dies out (i must admit, maybe too slowly but they die out).

It’s called diversity and it’s a good thing! Evolution has been succesfully doing that for millions of years! Adapting to requirements (in this case yours, the user) and getting better in each iteration.

But actually i am not in the mood to start a discussion on intelligent design (Steve Jobs™) vs evolution (Linux) – No question about it: I definitely want to take part in evolution (not get dictated a design) and nothing is going to change that right now. Stop complaining, switch phones or don’t, but go back to your Apple Store Temples™ and pray that after the evolution your species is not becoming the target of iXtinction™…

BlindType – Smart Keyboard for Touchscreens

One of the biggest problems of a touchscreen i always imagined seems to have a solution now: using a keyboard on small touchscreen is a challenge that needs practice. Nearly anyone who ever tried it for the first time might agree with me on that one. But even if you think your finger aiming came to a perfection, you always hold the phone in a slightly different angle and your surroundings might shake your whole body while the bus is hitting that one curve too fast. Whatever the reason, your fingers are not lying fixed on the keys like on a “real” keyboard. BlindType is supposed to solve that problem by automatically adjusting the keyboards position and size to where your fingers hit. By the relative position of your key hits and the most probable word you are typing it figures out the position of the keyboard you are actually using (even without you consciously knowing it).


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