Pardon me.

My apologies for the gap between posts. In my defense, school’s hard. For those students who have yet to graduate from high school, be warned: rumors of an easy senior semester have been greatly exaggerated. Either way, it’s over. I survived with a strong enough record to get a big handful of honors, and I’ll be studying a combination of Economics, Linguistics, and Neuroscience as a Michigan Wolverine. Hopefully posts will get more and more interesting as the blog grows and I’m inspired by the goings-on at my new home.


Cool Idea #10: Word Lens

The video says it all, but blogger Judith B. Herman’s says it all when she says your phone can translate signs. Word Lens is an augmented reality app that translates text within the view of a device’s camera. It does so without requiring phone/data reception, too, making it perfect for travelers.

As you can see in the video, the app is fast and the view is clear. And according to PC Mag, it works as shown in the clip except when translating long paragraphs or fast-moving text.

Word Lens is available for free, but translation packs are a premium feature. To see the app for the iPhone or iPod Touch, start here.

Question: What about reindeer predators?

Reindeer in the centre of Hammerfest, Norway

Image via Wikipedia

As described in a holiday-themed article at Reuters, the Norwegian government has responded to the fact that about 500 reindeer are killed annually in vehicle accidents. So far, officials have had roughly 2,000 reindeer tagged with reflective bands so that they’re more visible to motorists. The idea is intriguing, and I hope everything works out.

Thing is, I’m a little concerned over a different source of danger to reindeer. If they’re more visible to humans, aren’t they also more visible to predators? I assume the people behind the project considered this, but I’m not sure how the danger was dismissed.

Cool Idea #8: RelayRides

RelayRides is a little bit like ZipCar in that, in addition to being based in Massachusetts, it’s a network of cars that members share. The difference is that with RelayRides, members actually share. As in, RelayRides cars come from RelayRides users. They sign up, describe their cars and equip them with tracking devices, and put them on the RelayRides network.  The cool part here is that members who share their vehicles receive over half of usage fees. The startup is backed by Google and currently offers service in Boston and San Francisco. For more information, check out the first link and/or read this piece on Wired.

Cool Idea #6: The back scratcher T-shirt

It doesn’t look like I’m legally allowed to display the image here, but check out the shirt at (you’ll have to select the “back” view). Regardless, I’ll try to describe it briefly.

Remember Battleship? The game with a grid that had you guess the squares on which Little Billy had placed his ships? This shirt is like Battleship, but ships are replaced with itches, and Little Billy doesn’t lie to you about where the itches are. A 26×26 grid (A-Z and 1-26) dominates the back of the shirt. The wearer tells the scratcher where the itch is by giving him the exact coordinates that he wants scratched.

Besides the learning curve and the possibility of the shirt moving and throwing off scratcher-scratchee (?) coordination, the only issue I see is that the design doesn’t seem to cover the entire back, especially vertically. The uncovered spots are easy for a person to get on his/her own, but it would have been a nice feature that made the shirt a little bit more practical. The design also feels a little too basic, as though it needed something like duration and noogie vs. probe, but it accomplishes what it set out to do.

Define: Idea (via Painted Monologues)

A copywriter’s brief yet great commentary on ideas.

There is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea. Consider: An idea can be created out of nothing except an inspired imagination. An idea weighs nothing. It can be transferred across the world at the speed of light for virtually zero cost. And yet an idea, when received by a prepared mind, can have extraordinary impact. It can reshape that mind's view of the world. It can dramatically alter the behavior of the mind's owner. I … Read More

via Painted Monologues

Poll: “fat finger,” volcano, or oil spill?

I realize that this is probably out of the scope of my blog’s usual topics, but I’m curious and haven’t been able to find any other sources of information.

Over the past few weeks, several major current events have hit the world unexpectedly. At least in my mind, three of the most prominent ones are the Flash Crash (AKA the “fat finger” crash), the eruption that’s kept several European flights grounded, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Just out of curiosity, which do you think is the most troublesome? Please vote and ask your friends to do the same.