Monday, October 31, 2005

E Ink debuts 10" flexible e-Paper

Tokyo, Japan - October 19, 2005 - E Ink Corporation in USA, the leading supplier of electronic paper display technology, today announced that LG.Philips LCD (NYSE: LPL, KRX: 034220), one of the world's leading innovators of thin-film transistor liquid crystal (TFT-LCD) technology, and E Ink have built a 10.1" flexible electronic paper display. The display will be shown at the FPD International trade show in Japan, attended by over 60,000 visitors each year.

Less than 300 microns thick, the paper-white display is as thin and flexible as construction paper. With a 10.1" diagonal, the prototype achieves SVGA (600x800) resolution at 100 pixels per inch and has a 10:1 contrast ratio with 4 levels of grayscale.

E Ink® Imaging Film is a novel display material that looks like printed ink on paper and has been designed for use in paper-like electronic displays. Like paper, the material can be flexed and rolled. As an additional benefit, the E Ink Imaging Film uses 100 times less energy than a liquid crystal display because it can hold an image without power and without a backlight.

LG.Philips LCD and E Ink selected a steel foil material that could be supplied by Sumitomo Corporation in high volume and which was developed by Nippon Steel Corporation (5401.JP), the leading steel company in Japan. The flexible foil is a super-thin, extremely flat, high-performance steel that can easily withstand the high temperatures of a TFT production process.

LG.Philips LCD combined both materials to manufacture the display panel at an existing pilot TFT line in Korea. LG.Philips and E Ink jointly designed the display electronics and produced the final prototype to achieve the world's largest high-resolution flexible electronic paper display.

”We all need flexible displays,“ said Russ Wilcox, CEO of E Ink, ”They are 80% thinner and lighter than glass displays, and they do not break like glass displays. You can roll them up and put them in your pocket. You can curve them around the outside of a cellphone. Or you can throw them in your briefcase like a newspaper. As Galileo famously told us, the world is not flat.“

Making Visible the Invisible at Seattle Public Library

The circulation of checked out books and media transforms the library into a data exchange center. This flow of information can be calculated mathematically, analyzed statistically and represented visually. From a cultural perspective, the result may be a good indicator of what the community of patrons considers interesting information at any specific time. Visualizing the statistical information of the titles and their categories therefore provides a real-time living picture of what the community is thinking.

“Making Visible the Invisible” is an installation consisting of 6 large LCD screens located on a glass wall horizontally behind the librarians’ main information desk in the Mixing Chamber of the Seattle Central Library, a large open 19,500 sq ft space dedicated to information retrieval and public accessible computer research.

The screens feature real-time calculated animation visualizations generated by custom designed statistical and algorithmic software using data received each hour. This data consists of a list of checked-out items organized in chronological order. The item may be a book, a DVD, a CD, a VHS tape, etc. and from the list we can collect and aggregate titles, checkout time, catalog descriptors such as keywords, Dewey classification code if they are non-fiction items. There are approximately 36000 items circulating per day. Items with Dewey Decimal System labels provide for a way to get a perspective on what subject matters are of current interest at any given time as the Dewey system classifies all items according to 10 major categories: 000 Generalities; 100 Philosophy & Psychology; 200 Religion; 300 Social Science; 400 Language; 500 Natural Science & Mathematics; 600 Technology & Applied Sciences; 700 Arts; 800 Literature; 900 Geography & History. These are then subdivided into 100 segments. There are 4 visualizations at this time.

Google throws bodies at OpenOffice

With rival Microsoft in mind, Google plans to hire programmers to improve, a demonstration of its affinity for open source initiatives and one the company believes also shows sound practical sense.

OpenOffice has its roots in Sun Microsystems' StarOffice suite of programs. Five years ago, Sun turned its proprietary software into an open-source project. Only recently, however, has the competitor to Microsoft's Office attracted serious attention.

Now Google believes it can help OpenOffice--perhaps working to pare down the software's memory requirements or its mammoth 80MB download size, said Chris DiBona, manager for open-source programs at the search company.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sprint to roll out national WiMax network

Sprint intends to deploy a national, non-fixed WiMax network with as much, if not more coverage than the existing CDMA network. WiMax will effectively act as a replacement to CDMA data, providing FIOS-like speeds via massive towers that resemble TV towers in major cities.

This will enable Sprint to not only be a national ISP, but to remove common conceptions of fixed ISP. The WIMax modem technology Sprint is attempting to deploy will ensure that a broad range of WiMax devices will share an account... for example, WiMax deployments could fit in a PDA that would share bandwidth allocations with home internet that would share bandwidth allocations with your HDTV.

Sprint intends to compete directly with Cable, Satellite, ISPs, and traditional Wireless. By bundling all telecommunication services ever envisioned, Sprint will tackle everyone by offering everything.

Spray-on Computers

Spray on nano-computers could be the wave of the future. Scientists at several universities in Scotland are starting research on “Specks”, tiny nano-computers the size of a grain of sand. When put together, these “Specks” can combine to form programmable wireless networks that can communicate with each other, and with outside networks.

The coolest part, though, could be the potential to use an ordinary spray can to spread the “Specks” onto a surface. Although these nano-computers may not have a great deal of promise for the average consumer, imagine the promise this could have for businesses such as healthcare, automotive and construction just to name a few. For example, they could be used as lighting and temperature sensors in buildings, placed in aircraft wings to detect failures or used to sensitise medicine bottles to ensure that people take their prescribed medication at the correct times.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Publishers to build own online book network

It was only matter of time, really...

German publishers, keen to defend their copyrights as Internet search engines seek to put the world's literature online, aim to set up their own Web-based database allowing readers to browse, borrow or buy books.

Reuters article available here.

Study Guides Come to iPod

iPreppress on Wednesday announced a collaboration with SparkNotes to bring 11 study guides of classic American and British literature to the iPod. They’re priced at US$4.95 each.

Aimed at high school and college students, study guides include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, the Great Gatsby, Hamlet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, The Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, the Scarlet Letter and A Tale of Two Cities.

The study guides feature the same content as SparkNotes study guides, including context, plot overview, summary and analysis, and more. What’s more, the study guides include quizzes and audio hyperlinks.

The content works with video-capable iPod, iPod nano, iPod photo and third-generation iPod and higher and iPod mini models.

DVDs vanish off library shelves

Thieves in Gwinnett County have lifted enough DVDs from public library shelves to fill more than two video stores and wipe out nearly half the system's collection.

The thefts got so bad — nearly 17,000 discs in all — the library board quietly shut down the 5-year-old program last month and began selling off the remaining inventory.

McCloy and others want the program back. But the library board isn't likely to relent.

"The economics don't add up right now," English said.

The lost discs have already cost the taxpayer-funded library system about $250,000, administrators estimated. They say better DVD security would cost at least $150,000 a year, money the system can't afford for a collection that accounts for less than 4 percent of all checkouts.

Gwinnett's collection included only children's titles, such as those featuring Barney and Wiggles, and educational selections from producers like National Geographic. The only feature-length movies were "Cinderella" and similar titles.

Librarians first started noticing DVDs were missing a couple of years ago. Parents arrived home from the library with DVD cases that turned out to be empty. Or DVDs would be missing from shelves, even though the library's computer system showed they had not been checked out.

Library workers didn't catch on to the scope of the problem until early 2004. A routine inventory showed the DVDs were missing at a higher rate than books, CDs, magazines and other materials.

Suspicious, administrators called the system's 12 branches and asked librarians to look inside the cases to see if they still contained discs. Many were empty.

In all, thieves made off with 44 percent of the system's roughly 39,000 DVDs. Theft rates for other types of materials, such as books, are less than 2 percent, marketing director Cindy Murphy said.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Google Database Service

55908013 C00F7A76B9Word is ripping around the web that Google is testing a new subdomain called A screen shot - the site has been up and down - shows a Google database of sorts where you can "Post your items on Google." It's a tagged database of stuff that heads directly into the world of Paul Ford's classic "Google Takes All" essay.

Apparently this will be debuted at Google's invite only Zeitgeist conference today. Philipp has more.

Interesting "Browse" of Amazon Books!

An experimental image-browsing interface by jim bumgardner, of displays book covers from Move your mouse over the covers to see more information, click to view the amazon page. The graphic novels are arranged horizontally by price, and vertically by color. Cool!

"Shaft" lyrics in Chaucerian English

Monday, October 24, 2005

Study: iPod users are prolific influencers

And we’re better looking, too.

Market research firm Intelliseek reports that iPod users are among the most likely on the Internet to create and spread consumer-generated media. The company also thinks this will increase with the proliferation of Apple’s new video-enabled iPod hardware.

iPod users are twice as likely to have authored a weblog than consumers who don’t have MP3 players, according to Intelliseek’s 2005 Consumer-Generated Media and Behavior Study.

Intelliseek also reports that iPod users are 2.5 times as likely to exchange text messages on cell phones, three times as likely to take photos with a camera phone, and three times as likely to download video clips and movies to their computer. They’re more likely to own Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), PDAs, digital cameras, laptops and cell phones, too.

The study looked at the habits of 660 online consumers and was conducted in August, 2005. The full study — which focuses on all consumer generated media, not just that which is iPod-related — will be released in November.

Stanford and Apple Present "Stanford on iTunes"

Stanford University is making hundreds of Stanford podcasts available free to anyone through iTunes Music Store. The podcasts include lectures by the university's professors, music from its students, and play-by-play descriptions of its football games.

Check it out!
Stanford on iTunes

Friday, October 21, 2005

ALA 2006 to be in New Orleans

The following statement has been issued by American Library Association (ALA) President Michael Gorman:
"We realize that many sections of the city, and particularly the Ninth Ward, have suffered tragic damage, and that many New Orleans residents have lost their homes forever. If we truly care about the residents of New Orleans, however, the best thing that the association and its members can do is to go to New Orleans and lead the reconstruction by example. Our conference will help to provide the jobs and tax revenues needed if residents are to reestablish their lives and for the city to fully restore services, including library services. We speak often of how libraries build communities, and we now have chance to show the country and world that librarians build communities, too.

I hope that you will join me in New Orleans. I am certain that we will have an extraordinarily productive and enjoyable conference, as we enjoy the welcome and celebrate the rebirth of a city we all love."

World Usability Day

November 3, 2005 is World Usability Day (WUD), an event that will spread the word about making products and services easier to use:

Part of WUD will be the Accessibility Channel -- an exciting, 24-hour global conversation about accessibility and usability:

From World Usability Day (WUD) website:

* On November 3,2005, people in more than 80 locations, and 30 countries around the world will celebrate World Usability Day. The theme is "Making It Easy!"

* Every citizen and customer has a right to expect products and services that are easy to use. World Usability Day events will highlight how this can be achieved.

* From cell phones, to call centers, to customer service websites and more, there are countless opportunities to "Make It Easier to Use."

* World Usability Day events are designed increase awareness of every citizen's and customer's right to expect things that work right. Events will also emphasize the responsibility to drive the development of usability improvements.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cellphones learn to recognize their owners' faces

Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd. this week began marketing a technology that inexpensively adds face recognition to camera-equipped cellphones. Oki's "Face Sensing Engine" (FSE) "middleware" decodes facial images within 280mS on a 100MHz ARM9 processor, and can restrict access to mobile devices by recognizing their owners, the company says.

Oki says its FSE technology can help protect sensitive personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses from unwanted access, in the event of loss or theft of a mobile device. The use of face recognition, based on the mobile device's built-in digital camera, eliminates the need for users to enter passwords to use their devices, and provides a faster and more natural method of authentication. Oki points out.

FSE can acquire facial images from within a larger image. It works by locating and mapping key facial features -- such as eyes, eyebrows, and mouth -- and adapts to changing facial conditions such as winking and smiling, according to Oki.

Oki lists the following key features of its FSE technology:

  • Compact system footprint -- requires approximately 260KB on an ARM9 processor

  • Fast image processing -- requires approximately 280mS on a 100MHz ARM9 processor

  • Face recognition algorithm automatically adjusts to ambient lighting conditions

  • Supported processor architectures -- ARM9, SH Mobile, and others

  • Supported software platforms -- Symbian, uITRON, Linux, BREW, WIPI, Windows, Solaris, and others

Humorous slipcovers for books

Flapart sells funny book-covers to wrap around your reading material to impress strangers on the subway. Covers include "Coroner by Correspondence" and "Fast Track to Prison - Exploring the Many Benefits of Life Behind Bars." LINK

Google sued by Association of American Publishers

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Google over its plans to digitally copy and distribute copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owners. The lawsuit was filed only after lengthy discussions broke down between AAP and Google’s top management regarding the copyright infringement implications of the Google Print Library Project.

The suit, which seeks a declaration by the court that Google commits infringement when it scans entire books covered by copyright and a court order preventing it from doing so without permission of the copyright owner, was filed on behalf of five major publisher members of AAP: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Latest ePaper entry

Latest to show their own ultrathin display solution is Siemens, who claims their new color screens are quite actually paper thin, and that they actually cost relatively little to manufacture—$52 US per square meter. That’s still a bit much for newspaper use, of course, so it looks like they want us to hold out until 2007 on this one, when they suppose it’ll be a little more affordable in mass market pricing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Google's Librarian Center

Librarians and Google share a mission: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. We support librarians like yourself who work each day to further that mission. This page is a first step toward improving and expanding that support.

Check it out:

Average age of newspaper readers: 55

Newspaper readership is down. Fewer young people are picking them up, and the average age of a newspaper reader is now 55, according to a Carnegie Corporation study. Many papers have been losing circulation at alarming rates across all age groups.

Link to article.

OCLC's Presentation/Publication Bank

A handy collection of conference presentations and publications on library/information science subjects.

Japanese restaurants introduce RFID Payment System

Beef Bowl Chain Nakau introduced an RFID-based Payment System (JCB's QuickPay) on October 5. Customers can just show their RFID-chipped wallet phones to a paymenet machine to quickly pay for their meals. They are likely the first Beef Bowl Restaurant Chain to introduce RFID payment.

Beef bowls are one of the most popular fast food in Japan and they cost around $5.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Beloit College Student Mindset Lists

In the coming weeks, millions of students will be entering college for the first time. On average, these members of the Class of 2009 will be 18 years old, which means they were born in 1987. Starbucks, souped-up car stereos, telephone voicemail systems, and Bill Gates have always been a part of their lives.

Each August, as students start to arrive, Beloit College releases the Beloit College Mindset List, which offers a world view of today's entering college students. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Director of Public Affairs Ron Nief.

For the class of 2008:

1. Andy Warhol, Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and Lee Marvin have always been dead.
2. They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
3. Heart-lung transplants have always been possible.
4. Wayne Gretzky never played for Edmonton.
5. Boston has been working on the "The Big Dig" all their lives.

75 more...and links to seven other class "Mindsets"

Stealth Surfer USB Flash Drive

This is a product that caters to the extremely paranoid, but nevertheless it is a pretty good idea. StealthSurfer is a Windows PC compatible key-sized USB device that is preloaded with Firefox, Anonymizer, RoboForm, and Thunderbird software configured and integrated for optimum privacy. When using StealthSurfer, all your sensitive Internet files such as cookies, history, and cache are stored on the StealthSurfer device instead of your computer.
A Comprehensive Privacy Solution – ALL integrated under one hood! Preloaded with:

  • Firefox - high-speed browser with enhanced security

  • Anonymizer - anonymous surfing complete network security and IP masking
  • RoboForm - one-click form-fill with secure user ID/password management application

  • Thunderbird - portable e-mail accessHushmail - high security web based e-mail solution

Monday, October 10, 2005

Digital Divisions

There are clear differences among those with broadband connections, dial-up connections, and no connections at all to the internet

Sixty-eight percent of American adults, or about 137 million people, use the internet, up from 63% one year ago. Thirty-two percent of American adults, or about 65 million people, do not go online, and it is not always by choice. Those who are currently offline have had varying levels of exposure to the online world. One in five American adults say they have never used the internet or email and do not live in an internet-connected household. At the other end of the spectrum, 53% of home internet users have high-speed access, creating a new divide among internet users.

Pew Report Link

The Lulu Blooker Prize is the world's first literary prize devoted to "blooks": books based on blogs or websites. Awarded in three categories:Fiction, Non-Fiction and Comics.

Blooks are the world's fastest-growing new kind of book and an exciting new stage in the life cycle of content, if not a whole new category of content. Learn more

The Lulu Blooker Prize is sponsored by Lulu, the world's fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books, including an increasing number of blooks. However, the judges of the short-listed books are independent of Lulu and no favor will be shown to books published on Lulu.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Google formally declares war on Microsoft

GOOGLE HAS confirmed that it will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online and take on Microsoft in one of its biggest markets.

Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar.

The other day, when Sun's Scott McNealy and his former employee now Google chief Eric Schmidt met up, Sun was wary about doing that.

When asked point blank, McNealy said it was something to be investigated. However Sun's Australian spokesman Paul O'Connor was a little more forthright about the deal which he said was "huge".

He bubbled that the deal was a wake-up call for Microsoft.

"At the moment most people are used to having to pay for software packages, but at the end of the day, the value is in the content and services – not in the software itself," he said.

More at the Brisbane Courier Mail, here.

Retired Librarian Wins $1.6 million on slot machine

Jacquelyn Sherman had not had much luck since Hurricane Katrina sent her fleeing from her New Orleans home.

That changed on Tuesday, when the money flooded in.

The 57-year-old retired librarian won $1.6 million playing the slot machine at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana.

Said Ms. Sherman, "You just don't realize what done happened until the person next to you hits you and says, Well, you done did it."

LINK to article.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

America's Fall in R&D: "Nobody Cares"

From "Business Week" via Greg Lee:

There's a major university in the [San Francisco] Bay Area that you would have thought was one of the best-funded universities in the world. And one of our fellows at National is a professor there. And he said they just got a new gift of a network analyzer from Agilent. It's worth about $110,000 and they put it on a metal cart, and professors will hide it away and hoard it. And to use it, you have to sign up for it days in advance, and they roll it around from lab to lab.

And then he was invited over to China to give a speech and was given a tour of Tsinghua University. And he was shocked and amazed that every lab had one of those very same Agilent network analyzers. Some of them had never been used or turned on, but they had them just in case they ever needed one. The funding is incredible, and meanwhile we're sitting here thinking we're doing fine.

LINK to article.

B&N, thanks in no small part to the seductive smell of coffee, has become the new public library.

Put it this way: When was the last time you couldn't find a seat at your local branch? When was the last time you went to the library on a Saturday night? For fun. Just to browse. Please, if you're that guy, don't write. It's OK. I'm sure there's someone out there for you.

In fact, public libraries are struggling in the Internet age when millions have easy access to information without leaving home or office. Having noticed the marketing success of Starbucks, some universities, and even a few high-school libraries, are now offering coffee. Vendors can be found in libraries at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Richmond, the University of Tennessee, the University of Pittsburgh and Auburn University, to name a few.

Students reportedly are clamoring for the library. Who'da thunk? Brew it and they will come.

LINK to article.