Sunday, December 17, 2006

Loopt Mobile Messenger, Friend Finder, and Event Service

http://www.loopt.com/, description via Joe McCarthy


...they already have 40K users, and will be doing a
major launch in December (at which point the application
will be pre-installed on all Boost phones).

...Managing privacy issues will be crucial to their success;
Mark said everything is opt-in, requiring an explicit
invitation, acceptance, and activation, and it only works
if you know someone's phone number."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

China-Carnegie Mellon University Herbert A Simon Visiting Scholar Program

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~simonscholar/



The goal of the China-Carnegie Mellon University program is to promote and influence next-generation Chinese academic leaders in Computer Science.

...

The Simon-Scholar program is designed to bring exceptional young professors (lecturers, assistant professors, and assoicate professors) at leading Computer Science Departments in China to visit Carnegie Mellon for 6 to 12 months. Carnegie Mellon will match each scholar with a host professor, and together they will conduct research of mutual interest. This program is supported by The Chinese Ministry of Education, The China Scholarship Council, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Top 10 Scams of 2006 (and 2005)

From ConsumerAffairs, Top 10 Scams of 2006 and Top 10 Scams of 2005. Some of these scams are quite ingenious, preying on people's fears, greed, or compassion. Some highlights:


Government Grants: This was the most common scam in 2005. A typical version of the scam worked like this: The caller claimed that you won a $12,500.00 federal grant and all you must do is pay the taxes, either by wiring the money or by providing your checking account numbers over the phone.

Jury Duty: A widespread scam where the caller claimed that you missed jury duty. One version of the scam said that an arrest warrant had been issued, and when you would insist that you didn't receive a notice for jury duty, the caller would ask for your personal information to verify they were speaking to the correct person. Another version of the scam would ask you to pay a fine by using your credit card or checking account.

Phony Job Scam: Scammers are increasingly responding to job seekers posting their resumes at online employment sites, such as Careerbuilder.com. The job offer usually has nothing to do with the job seeker's experience or qualification. Even so, they are offered a job on the spot, serving as a "courier."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Programming by Demonstration for the Nintendo Wii

Quite impressive, you can simply demonstrate the gestures you want the Nintendo Wiimote to recognize.
http://wiinintendo.net/?p=1857

I wonder if it uses a simple linear classifier? I also wonder what their threshold value is for recognizing gestures, since it seems to be able to classify things as unknown gestures. Lastly, how good is the performance? The program seemed to have a slight lag in recognizing gestures, but the Nintendo sports game I tried out seems to respond quite well.

Overheard at Dan60

Overheard at the 60th birthday celebration of our department director, Dan Siewiorek:

A: You look familiar, have we met before?

B: I'm not sure, I'm [anonymized].

A: Oh, you were on my dissertation committee along with Dan!