Who doesn't like listening to computer generated human voices for hours at a time? If you're a fan of Microsoft Sam, you should check out Dixero, a service that turns RSS feeds into podcasts you can subscribe to and listen to on your computer or portable devices. The company is showing of its products at this week's Web 2.0 Expo, despite the incredibly noisy show floor.
SpeechGear's Compadre suite of translation software brings us one step closer the sci-fi ideal of a universal translator. The full suite of five programs gives you the ability to instantly translate anything you see, hear, or read into a ton of languages, including Spanish, German, Dutch, Iraqi, Chinese, Japanese, and more.
The most exciting portion of the software is Interact, which lets you have a near-real-time conversation with a speaker of a foreign language. You and your conversant simply speak into a microphone that's connected to your computer; the program uses voice recognition, machine translation, and speech synthesis … Read more
A German politician recently sued Wikipedia to have images related to the Third Reich removed from the site. Then she changed her mind and withdrew the complaint, after vehement disapproval by her own party. But she's still campaigning to have an Internet-wide agreement not to use or display "anti-Semitic, racist, sexist, and extreme right positions."
It's not just Wikipedia: Yahoo, YouTube, and eBay have all occasionally drawn criticism (and legal action) for providing information and documents from Nazi Germany.
Where should Web sites draw the line between documenting the truth and providing fuel for hate movements?… Read more
Here's a neat service for blog owners who want to add another layer of distribution for their content. It's called Odiogo, and it will take any written blog entries and turn them into spoken word. It uses an integrated player that sticks itself on top of every blog post, and lets readers listen to any post in lieu of reading.
I came across the service while reading a post on UNEASYsilence about hacking the new eeePCs to run a hacked version OS X Leopard (which apparently runs about as well as it can on the aged processor), and … Read more
The next U.S. Air Force maverick may be talking to her plane instead of looking at its dash for updates.
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, which the Air Force plans to roll out in 2008, will be the first U.S. fighter to respond to voice commands, the Air Force announced Wednesday.
The Air Force Research Laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate has been working on the idea for some time, trying out different systems from a variety of companies.
This news may hit CNET tomorrow as a New York Times cross-post, but I haven't seen anything about it yet so I wanted to be sure it was reported here.
According to the Times, Verizon, one of the nation's two largest wireless carriers, told NARAL that it would not allow the reproductive rights organization to send text messages through a program using Verizon's mobile network, on the grounds that Verizon has the right to block "controversial or unsavory" text messages.… Read more
Vlingo is a new mobile voice service launching today. It centers around a small Java app that lets you talk into your handset to create a text message instead of using your phone's keypad. The service is its own SMS client, piggybacking off your phone to send the message, although it forgoes using your phone's native SMS app, or word dictionary. In addition to texting, Vlingo is launching with voice to text services for mobile music stores and mapping services. The maps come courtesy of Yahoo, and can be zoomed and navigated just like accessing the mobile version … Read more
If you visit www.vivoleum.com today you'll find nothing, but last month the site was the home of the Yes Men's latest experiment in political theater and a protest against Exxon Mobil. Apparently Exxon Mobil was not amused, and as The Inquirer reports, the Yes Men soon found themselves without a Web site and their e-mail access severed. Broadview Networks, the group's Web host, refused to restore their e-mail until they had removed all mention of the oil company.
Sadly, the Yes Men's story is not unique, and Jimmy Atkinson of The Dedicated Hosting Guide … Read more
As a senior in high school in the city of Juneau, Alaska, Mr. Frederick created a large banner that read "Bong Hits For Jesus" and unveiled the banner outside his school on the sidewalk while the Olympic torch relay accompanied by television camera crews passed by on the way to the 2002 games. Upon seeing the spectacle, the principal, Deborah Morse, seized the banner and suspended Frederick for violating the school's anti-drug policy. Frederick appealed and eventually filed a lawsuit in federal court.