Thursday, November 29, 2007

IMINDI Thought Engine for Collective Intelligence

IMINDI is a Web 2.0 application to collect and expand your thoughts by exploring and connecting with the thoughts of other Like Minds. It is a "Thought Engine" that can augment the way we think of new ideas, concepts and questions based on the idea of mind maps.

Mind mapping is taken to a new level by allowing everyone’s thoughts to be collected together. The interface is an interactive visual map of your mind called a "Journey". Each Journey has its own theme, and once you have chosen a starting thought you can travel to wherever your mind takes you. People can share their thoughts or make them public. Journeys can be connected to expand your thoughts and take them in new directions.

On top of the IMINDI Thought Engine new and useful applications are built that enable you to attach the information to your thoughts such as:
  • IMINDI Write - an online word processor where you can produce "Essay" documents with keywords marked up with links back to your Journeys
  • IMINDI Search - A meta search engine that enables you to use the thoughts in your Journeys as queries to all the major search engines
  • IMINDI Thought Agent - A recommendation engine where IMINDI looks at the thoughts in your Journeys and suggests related thoughts and Like Minds
  • IMINDI This! - A book mark that enables you to link websites of interest directly to your thoughts in a Journey as a resource
Check out the Journey on the Thought Engine to experience this unique online collective intelligence tool. Collaborative mind mapping is a nice way to collect and harness Collective Intelligence.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shoogle - Shaking cellphones reveal what's inside

Thanks to a new innovative idea we can shake our devices to feel and hear how full their battery or message inbox is - as if it were a liquid fuel tank. Shoogle is a novel, intuitive interface for sensing data within a mobile device, such as presence and properties of text messages or remaining resources.

It is based around active exploration: devices are shaken, revealing the contents rattling around "inside". Accelerometers built into advanced devices like the iPhone or some Nokia phones makes this possible. What can I say? This is cool!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Amazon Kindle Bundles Broadband Wireless

Amazon wants to change how you shop for and read books with its new device, the Amazon Kindle. Its bundled hidden wireless connectivity marks a new wave of internet innovations. No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments—they take care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read.

Bundling broadband internet connectivity with devices such as the Amazon Kindle or the Apple iPhone is a new way for companies to create compelling gadgets and services. Kindle connects to Whispernet which is based on Sprint's national high-speed (EVDO) data network to enable you to wirelessly search, discover, download, and read content on the go. Unlike WiFi, there is no need to find a hotspot.

Arc Technica posted a detailed review on Amazon's eBook reader.

Friday, November 23, 2007

True Knowledge Gives Direct Answers to Questions

True Knowledge addresses one of the fundamental problems in internet search: namely that computers (unlike humans) cannot understand the content of web pages. As a result, simply asking a search engine for the desired information in the most natural way possible doesn't produce a direct response. We have to rely on keywords.

Their technology can represent the world's knowledge in a form that is clear and accessible to humans, as well as being comprehensible to computers.

Wikipedia is a repository for the collegtive knowledge of humankind. But it does not provide semantic search. True Knowledge aims to change this.

Check out the promising demo video:

There are several ways of looking at True Knowledge. These include:
  • Question-Answering Site
  • Enhanced Search Engine
  • "Wikipedia for Facts"
  • Universal Database
  • Platform for Building Knowledge Services
True Knowledge is a semantic search engine using Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. They are not alone in this space. Check out my earlier post on PowerSet. Both are in beta test phase. True Knowledge and PowerSet could possibly create another wave in the ocean of innovations!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Open Internet Video: Miro Challenges Joost

Turn your computer into an internet TV with Miro - the free open-source video platform with the recently released version 1.0!

There are many ways to explain Miro:
  • "A TiVo for the internet."
  • "Turn your computer into a TV."
  • "Simple, elegant internet video."
  • "HD TV on your computer."
Miro is open-source, DRM-free, friendly to all content creators, connected to all the popular video sharing sites like YouTube and, high definition, full of content, and BitTorrent-enabled. Miro challenges Joost which, on the other hand, is proprietary, DRM-protected, closed to video sharing sites and entirely streaming video.

Miro functions more like iTunes: download interesting videos from the internet or subscribe to 2500+ video RSS channels. Miro has build in BitTorrent support. Since videos must be downloaded, playback is not instant for now; but the videos load pretty quickly. Miro can play MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, H.264, Divx, Windows Media, Flash Video, and almost every other major video format.

Joost is like a better TV with instant play and interaction. It has 250+ commercial broadcast channels to choose from.

Miro and Joost have different strengths and focus. Users enjoy the competition of the maturing online video services.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The War for the Next Generation of Mobile Consumers

Mobile broadband services will revolutionize our life and create opportunities for companies like Apple and Nokia. Who will win the mobile consumers?

The landscape is changing quickly as companies prepare for this war. The moves so far:
  • Apple launched the iPhone in collaboration with AT&T
    • change the business model for operators and handset vendors
    • revenue share agreement with an operators
    • European operators O2 and others follows
  • Nokia made strategic acquisitions
    • buying companies such as Intellisync, Sega, Gate 5, Navteq, Enpocket and Loudeye
    • introduced Ovi - its music and web services platform
    • Vodafone and Telefonica have both plan to offer Ovi services
  • SonyEricsson
    • introduced its own Internet music portal: PlayNow
    • Ericsson acquired Tandberg TV, Redback, Marconi and LHS (billing) to build the next generation services network
    • Sony builds on its Walkman, Cybershot and Playstation brands to leverage with consumers
  • Google phone turns out to be an open software initiative
    • Android is Google’s open mobile operating system initiative. Check out the demo here and the architecture overview here.
    • acquisitions for location based services, mobile advertising, chat, search, and others set Google up on a collision with the others. But it is a collision with partnerships.
    • the Open Handset Alliance is betting on the revolution of the mobile phone industry. The alliance includes handset manufacturers such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung and LG, mobile operators such as Sprint, T-Mobile, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Telecom Italia and Telefonica, other companies such as Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, eBay, and PacketVideo
    • but Android will not appear in phones for about a year
  • Microsoft is going Live
    • betting its mobile future on Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger, Live Contacts and Live Spaces and bringing together a total end-user experience
    • acquired companies to extend its offerings and plans to acquire about 20 companies—from $50 million to $1 billion—every year for the next five years
Stay-tuned for the coming battle of the internet and mobile giants. On the other hand media and entertainment companies will create new services and experiences on these platforms and devices. Consumers will have many choices as this brand new mobile broadband world unfolds.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It is Time to Learn Amazon EC2 and S3

Utility computing is here to conquer the IT world! Amazon Vice President Adam Selipsky has recently unveiled the newest statistics on usage of Amazon S3. Their 265,000+ developer community has now stored over 10 billion (10,000,000,000) objects in S3 at a rate of 27,601 transactions per second. That's huge progress compared to the 5 billion objects just a few months ago!

Programmers and web developers should really look forward to books such as Programming Web Services - S3, EC2, SQS, and FPS by James Murty. The book will cover the most disruptive and useful web services available today:
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (just launched in Europe!)
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (now in beta with new instances)
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service (offers reliable and scalable hosted queue)
  • Amazon Flexible Payments Service (still in limited beta)
To illustrate the power of the Amazon Web Services check out this blog entry by Derek Gottfrid: Self-service, Prorated Super Computing Fun!

The New York Times has decided to make all the public domain articles from 1851-1922 available free of charge. These articles are all in the form of images scanned from the original paper. In fact from 1851-1980, all 11 million articles are available as images in PDF format. To generate a PDF version of the article takes quite a bit of work!

Derek has achieved this with the help of Amazon S3/EC2 and Hadoop!

I quickly got to work copying 4TB of data to S3. Next I started writing code to pull all the parts that make up an article out of S3, generate a PDF from them and store the PDF back in S3. This was easy enough using the JetS3t — Open Source Java toolkit for S3, iText PDF Library and installing the Java Advanced Image Extension.

For deployment, I created a custom AMI (Amazon Machine Image) for EC2 that was based on a Xen image from my desktop machine. I logged in, started Hadoop and submitted a test job to generate a couple thousands articles — and to my surprise it just worked. It churned through all 11 million articles in just under 24 hours using 100 EC2 instances, and generated another 1.5TB of data to store in S3.

Now that this adventure can be called a success, I can’t imagine how we might have done it without Amazon S3 / EC2 . The one caveat I will offer to people who are interested in doing something like this is that it is highly addictive.

Indeed an interesting utility computing success story!