Turn speech into actionable data as a service

Nice approach: The California-based startup Wit.Ai offers Speech Recognition for any kind of task, from mobile apps to robotics. Instead of creating such components themselves, developers can use the Wit.Ai technology, send them spoken language and get back structured data. If this works out I think it will have a major impact on the number of apps and even household items that understand natural spoken language commands. Nice!

Wit.ai makes it easy for developers to build applications and devices that you can talk to. Our vision is to empower developers with an open and extensible natural language platform. Wit.ai learns human language from every interaction, and leverages the community: what’s learned is shared across developers.


via Technology Review: Sprache für das Internet der Dinge

Semantic and Contextual Online Marketing

On Gründerszene, Torge Kahl published an great overview of the targeting methods in online advertising (sorry, only in German). Obviously, I am especially interested in the contextual and semantic targeting techniques. There are some funny (well, depends on the point of view) not so adequate article placements based soley on context...

Diese Targeting-Methoden orientieren sich am Text der Webseite, auf der das Banner ausgeliefert wird. Man unterscheidet zwischen kontextuellem und semantischem Targeting.

Gründerszene: Display Marketing Mit diesen Targeting-Verfahren kommen Eure Werbebanner gut an

German Localization + 1 Extra-Dollar for Thimbleweed Park is a really cool stretch goal

Stretch goals for the localization of Thimbleweed Park

Interesting news regarding the Thimbleweed Kickstarter: Videogame localization legend Boris Schneider-Johne offered via Twitter to localize the brand new classic retro graphic point and click adventure game into German - for free:

Schneider-Johne was responsible for the great localization of the Lucasfilmgames graphic adventures Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island. Schneider-Johne first changed from videogame journalism at the German game magazine Power Play to the localizing site which as a matter of fact did not yet exist at this time.

His first localization was a localized "hack" of the Activision adventure game "Murder on the Mississippi": He used a Hex-Editor to alter the text-assets of the game - and created en passent one of the first german videogame localizations at all.

Well, as you may have seen on the image above: this is the kind, cool and tremendous reaction of the Thimbleweed Makers on Boris' kind, cool and tremendous offer.

Delay causes syncronizity between Neurons and Hipsters

Female hipster with bike by Lorena Cupcake

The Neuroscientist Jonathan Touboul does research on hipster-alike-neurons, i.e. "they fire when every neuron around them is quiet; or they fall silent when every neuron around them is chattering." (I myself was not aware of this definition of hipster and feel quite uncomfortable hip right now, but that will pass.) And he noticed some rather interesting similarities between societies involving hipsters in general and brains involving hipster neurons in particular:

But members of society do not have immediate knowledge of cultural trends. Neither do neurons immediately recognize what other neurons are up to.

So the important term here is: immediate. There is a delay - and due to the delay, there comes syncronizity in the reaction: This is why hipsters look all the same. Read more on the mathematics behind it on io9: A Mathematical Model Explains Why All Hipsters Look The Same. Or, with a broadend focus on entrepreneurs at NoStartupHipsters: What do Neurons, Hipsters and Entrepreneurs have in common?

Fund Thimbleweed Park

A dusty old desk drawer with an undiscovered Lucasfilm graphic adventure game

I know: There are always more things to fund than you actually can fund.

But if you're like me you definitily spend a Dollar or two on the game which was proposed yesterday by the idol of my youth - Ron Gilbert:

So we're [i.e. Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick] doing an Kickstarter for an all new classic point & click adventure game called "Thimbleweed Park". It will be like opening a dusty old desk drawer and finding an undiscovered Lucasfilm graphic adventure game you’ve never played before.

Grumpy Gamer: Please Join Us On Kickstarter

As a matter of fact, I spent 25 Bucks - in order to finally get absolution of guilt for pirating Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island as a kid.

Kickstarter: Thimbleweed Park: A New Classic Point & Click Adventure!

Convert Text to SAMPA and IPA

It was surprisingly hard to find those converters for German and English to SAMPA.
Ok, the German one is even linked in Wikipedia (even in the English version) but nevertheless, just googleing for SAMPA converter was not very helpful. So here they are, for my later research and may be for the web wanderer...

UPODN: Turn your text into fənɛ́tɪks here
Rainers Horen: Schreibmaschine zum Konvertieren von Text zu IPA und SAMPA

Dialect speaking devices

It was the other day when I was thinking about dialect understanding and speaking devices. Well, here it is:

Scientists in Vienna, Austria have created a speech synthesizer which delivers dialects. It also provides an on-screen Avatar that shows lip and facial movements.

Hackread: Next big thing: your phone will speak your dialect with Austrian speech synthesis


Today I remembered that it is impossibleto to comment to this blog. If I remember correctly, this was due to the fact that my host provider told me, I should stop sending thousands of mails a day with this account.

As a matter of fact, thousands of spam bots registerd as a user and Drupal just confirmed their attempts. Still, I have several hundred pages of lists of unapproved users somewhere in the backend.

For my bloody Drupal noob past me the easiest way was to deactivate user registration. Today, present me was challengend by understanding what past me has done... but finally: here you go, and comment - but mind the captcha.

Character Recognition Recognition

Screenshot of Reverse OCR Tumblr

Via Twitter I stumbled upon the Reverse OCR bot yesterday. The bot itself states its mission like this:

I am a bot that grabs a random word and draws semi-random lines until the OCRad.js library recognizes it as the word.

And indeed, it is pretty interesting to follow those inexplicable lines which the OCRad algorithm identifies as words. You get a glance on why it is so difficult to write a good OCR system although most of us can parse text without any afford.

Darius Kazemi, the man behind Reverse OCR is an internet artist. On his website "Tiny Subversions" he lists a lot of other werid stuff he created, e.g. a bot that shops random stuff at amazon or a tool for creating presentations using the first image of a google search to a given list of topics.