AVC: Do you think the war on stupid culture is unwinnable? Are we headed for Idiocracy? M: Oh, that's a good question. I think the smart people will get even smarter, and the dumb people will get even dumber. But I think they all will enjoy A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, … Read more
When traffic is so heavy to Techcrunch's live blogging of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference that it's virtually impossible to get through to see a minute-by-minute update of Steve Jobs' keynote, you know that the ground has shifted. Ten years ago, no one cared to cover product releases from Apple.
Then, as MacWorld notes, the iMac hit, and Apple's fortunes turned.
Today, Apple is one of the world's leading brands [PDF] and the furor surrounding the release of its 3G iPhone at fever pitch. Developers have been climbing all over the iPhone, even as Apple's … Read more
It's not yet on the Web, but In the the July issue, The Atlantic has an exceptional and provocative article by Nick Carr, asking "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" It's a riff on Carr's book, The Big Switch (reviewed here), but covers new ground and has me worried. Carr writes:
The human brain is almost infinitely malleable...James Olds, a professor of neuroscience who directs the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University, says that even the adult mind "is very plastic...The brain...has the ability to reprogram itself on the fly, altering the way it functions."
As we use what the sociologist Daniel Bell has called our "intellectual technologies"--the tools that extend our mental rather than our physical capacities--we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies.
"Excellent!" you say, "Now I'll be able to retrieve an infinite amount of information, like Google." Maybe. Or maybe our ability to retain and process information will continue to dwindle. Remember books? Those were the things we read before e-mail, Web browsing, and Twitter came on the scene.
Speaking of Twitter, am I the only one who views it as further evidence of a soundbite culture that struggles even to think beyond 140-character blips? … Read more
This week's Friday Gillmor Gang podcast featured Mark Lucovsky, currently head of Google's search APIs and formerly a top technologist at Microsoft (reportedly Steve Ballmer threw a chair across the room upon being informed that Lucovsky was getting hitched to Google).
"We are opening up all of Google bit-by-bit programmatically," Lucovsky … Read more
On Friday Opera announced that version 9.5 of the browser (download Opera 9.5 beta for Windows or Mac) will include built-in antimalware protection from Haute Secure (download for Windows 32-bit or Windows 64-bit).
This is, of course, to counter the antimalware protection built into Firefox 3, currently available as a final release candidate (download for Windows or Mac). Firefox uses data from Google and StopBadware to block a site before it loads on your browser.
Haute Secure counters that its offering is better because it relies upon a community of dedicated users to inform the product when to … Read more
Google Maps updated with public transit information and routing back in mid-2007 (see story here), but missing was a way to access that same layer of information on your mobile phone. Today that's changed with the latest version of Google's mobile maps app.
The updated service now includes searchable transit maps and schedules from more than 40 cities in the U.S. and close to 20 others around the globe. It also takes advantage of the built-in location finder to help you find transportation hubs that are nearby, saving you time from having to ask directions while out … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--It's hard for me to believe, but in only three days, I'll be hopping on a plane and heading east for the beginning of Road Trip 2008, my journey through the American South to write about and photograph many of the region's most interesting destinations.
One of the very first stops will be Disney World, in Orlando, Fla., and over the last few days, I've noticed that there are at least a couple of new applications that can help people like me get ready for the total immersion experience that is a visit to Florida'… Read more
Update 5:35 p.m. PDT: I added more details and a comment that Gmail should finally exit its beta-testing phase "soon."
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Google will invite users to try new features the company is considering adding to its Gmail service, the company said Thursday.
At 6 p.m. PDT Thursday, users will be able to select from 13 new features in a "labs" tab in the Gmail settings page, said Keith Coleman, a Gmail product manager, in a meeting with reporters here.
"The idea is you can do whatever you want, get it … Read more
Verizon Wireless announced Thursday that it intends to acquire Alltel in a deal worth $28.1 billion that would create the largest cell phone company in the country. CNET News.com reporter Maggie Reardon chats with podcast host Leslie Katz about what this merger would mean for Verizon--and for consumers.
The Google Chart API returns a PNG-format image in response to a URL. Several types of image can be generated: line, bar, and pie charts for example. For each image type you can specify attributes such as size, colors, and labels.
Check out my fancy Negative Approach (I am 50/50 today) that I made simply by manipulating the URL string.
As described on InfoQ, Deepak Jois has written a wrapper for the API called gchartrb, which provides a clean, concise way to generate chart URLs using Ruby.