Siri is helpful when you want to schedule a reminder or look at the forecast, but wouldn’t it be better to have a bona fide Jeopardy! champ in your pocket? IBM is trying to figure out how to bring the power of its superbrainy Watson to smartphones, helping people answer far more complex questions.
Trackpads have been a remarkably simple solution to what could've been a complicated problem: translating the mouse to a laptop. But pushing that technology any further requires some lateral thinking, and the next dimension laptops might venture into is detecting pressure from your fingers, which would open the door for a larger set of commands. It would change how we navigate, and we might be almost there.
Generations of sweating architects and designers have been at work for hundreds of years, pulling inspiration from different sources, to give the biggest, most iconic cities in the world their unique looks. The result is a Paris that isn't the same as New York and a Barcelona that isn't the same as Tokyo. We can pick up on the subtle differences, and now new software can, too.
When we feel there's a situation out of our control, we often fall back on superstition to account for it. ("Nothing else is working, why not blame it on that black cat?") But when enough of us rely on superstition, it's not just an individual comfort; it starts to have real repercussions. Now a designer has created an algorithm trades stock superstitiously, and it's going to see if gambling based on full moons and thirteens can pay off.
Apple's newest desktop/laptop operating system, Mac OS X 10.8 (otherwise known as Mountain Lion) was released this morning. You can only get it via download in the Mac App Store, for an impulse-worthy $20. We're still playing with ours; it's a minor update, especially compared to the complete overhaul that is the next version of Windows, though there are some new features here we're excited about, like AirPlay mirroring, a great new version of Safari, and a notifications bar. If you've got, like, a full day, check out Ars Technica's review--it's a 26,000-word, 24-page behemoth of a piece that covers all the ins, outs, and other prepositions related to the new update.
To conduct experiments, researchers can change a variable in an organism and watch the results unfold. But life is messy, and it's difficult to understand the underlying processes that explain the data. Digitizing the process could help, and now we're starting small: researchers have successfully made a computer model of Mycoplasma genitalium, the world's tiniest free-living bacterium.
For humans, few things are as ubiquitous as the common cold. We catch it more than any other infectious disease and it's been with us as about as long as we've existed. But while there isn't a cure, our technology is constantly improving, and now in our corner we have Australia's fastest supercomputer helping to work out a solution.
Consumer-products makers spend countless dollars every year on market research that doesn’t work. Focus groups generally to try to please their testers, research has found, and consumer surveys also tend to overestimate their interest in products. So several companies are cutting what consumers say out of the equation and instead going straight after what they are thinking, the Wall Street Journal reports.