Archive for June, 2011

Can you see the tent in this picture?

June 11, 2011
Do you know what it’s for? I’m guessing it’s some kind of insect trap

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I’m enjoying Buckyballs

June 4, 2011
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Air Jordans were banned from the NBA

June 3, 2011
So it would seem. Like, twenty-five years ago. But I like this math:

Nike released the first design of its instant-classic line of Air Jordan sneakers on September 15, 1985. On October 18th of that year, Stern officially barred Michael Jordan from wearing his signature kicks during games. He banned the shoes because their vibrant red-and-black color scheme didn’t match the shoes and jerseys that the rest of Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teammates were wearing. 

His Airness continued to take the court in Air Jordans. Stern responded by fining Jordan $5,000 for each game he wore the shoes. Over an 82-game regular season it would add up to $410,000 in fines against Jordan’s salary of $630,000.

I had no idea ReCPATCHA provided a “service” to…old books?

June 3, 2011
Did you know "By entering the words in the box, you are also helping to digitize texts that were written before the computer age. The words that you see were taken directly from old texts that are being scanned and stored in digital format in order to preserve them and make them more accessible to the world. Since some of the words in these texts are difficult for computers to process, we are using the results of your efforts to help decipher them."

How is it possible, if they don't already know what it says, for it to be used as verification? I.e. if I'm helping to figure out what it says, how does it know if I'm right?
Aah–they thought of that: "But if a computer can't read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here's how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by [a computer] is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct."

Are you kidding? I am deeply wowed.

IBM commercials with a Mac product placement

June 3, 2011
I like commercials. Not "on principle," but in reality, I do enjoy watching them, especially when they use the medium to its fullest. Playful, thought-provoking or just provocative, commercials are a medium that is not short of funding. Short of time, thankfully, but not short of money. I like the idea of a message being fine-tuned but yes, it bothers me that that fine-tuning is to the note of: create more desire, make viewers feel incomplete without the product. 
     One aesthetic I have enjoyed a lot is Apple computers. So I found it cute that IBM's playlist of commercials (106, several of which have been "removed by owner"…hmmm) includes a very visible Mac keyboard (@ 0:27 seconds)