June 18, 2008

Amazon Bans South African Post Office

If you're like me and you regularly have books sent over from Amazon.com, forget it, because Amazon has blacklisted the SA Post Office.

According to SAPA, rampant theft by Post Office workers has infuriated internet retailing giant Amazon so much that it will no longer send goods to South Africa by post, Business Day has reported.

Anyone wanting to order directly from the US-based website must now pay for a private courier service adding about R420 to the price of a DVD.

No one from the Post Office would comment.

No other African country's postal service had been blacklisted by Amazon, Business Day said.

When I read this, I first checked the date to see if it wasn't April 1. I mean I know that theft is bad from the Post Office, but the fact that Amazon.com would blacklist the Post Office is terrible, how am I going to get my new Kindle?

June 17, 2008

Times Online Offers 20 Million Articles for Free

Times Online has rolled out an elaborate digital newspaper archive stretching back more than 200 years. The archive includes more than 20 miliion articles from every edition of the Times, bar a small number of damaged issues, from 1785 to 1985.

It includes the Thunderer's coverage of events such as the Battle of Waterloo, the first convicts arriving at Botany Bay and the execution of Marie Antoinette, the sinking of the Titanic. Other issues cover the 1851 Great Exhibition, the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888 and Amelia Earhart's solo flight across the Atlantic in 1932.

The archive also includes letters to the editor, photographs and adverts, with each page presented as it was printed in the paper on a parchment-coloured screen. Anne Spackman, the editor-in-chief of Times Online, said that the Times wanted the project to set the gold standard for an online newspaper archive for 'arguably the most famous newspaper in the world'. The archive is currently free, and Spackman says no decision will be taken about whether it will remain free or require a subscription until it has generated a solid user base.

Pages are scanned using 'optical character recognition technology', which means articles can be tagged and searched more easily. More than 150 topic pages, such as 'war and revolution', are designed to make content easier to search.

For me, the interesting articles are the coverage of Crime in the UK over the years - Jack the Ripper, the Moors Murders, the Kray Twins, the Great Train Robbery and then from the USA, the Gang Feuds in Chicago and the arrest of Al Capone.

June 7, 2008

Viewdle - Search in Video

If my therapist had to see these posts she would wonder why I'm feeling so lost. It seems to me I'm writing all about searching and being found.

But it is really exciting the search is progressing from word search to images and also to video.

Viewdle is a video search method/engine. " It is a facial recognition powered digital media platform for easily indexing, searching and monetizing video assets".

Viewdle technology recognizes actual appearances of people on screen., so you'd better go over and take a look for yourself.

Image Based Search Engine - Tineye.com

At last, an image based search engine that doesn't search by words - yes, it truly searches by image.

Toronto, Ontario-based Idée inc. has authorized over 12,000 beta testers for Tineye, with a waiting list that grows longer by the day according to CEO Leila Boujnane. Idée's goal with Tineye is quite simple: to be the image search engine. And although you'll never hear anyone from any company (think Google and Photoshop) officially admit it due to trademark diminishment concerns, it's a safe bet that Tineye is secretly hoping to be "verbed" in the image-search space: "Can you Tineye yesterday's lead photo to see which blogs picked it up?" And there's already a Firefox extension, making it easy as a right-click to launch a Tineye image search.
Well I got all this from a great article in PopPhoto.com, so read it there.

But I went to have a look at Tineye and registered as a beta tester and installed the Firefox plugin. Now all I need to do is right click on any image and tell it to "fetch".

OK at the moment the database isn't very big, but imagine what it will be like in a year or so - just imagine the potential for an image based search engine?

June 5, 2008

Firefox Dowload Day 2008 - Let's Break a Guinness World Record

Firefox wants to set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours, so they've planned a massive campaign to download Firefox 3.

Firefox 3 sets the innovation bar very high with exciting new features, including one-click bookmarking, the smart location bar and lightning fast performance. Firefox 3 also includes phishing and malware protection, plus new instant site ID info.

With features like built-in spell checking, session restore and full zoom, Firefox 3 makes it possible to work faster and more efficiently on the Web. With Firefox 3 you can choose from over 5,000 add-ons that help you customize your browsing experience.

I took the previous two paragraphs from the Firefox website because just can't list all the good things about this web browser.

So sign up and await the date for the biggest download fest in history and become part of an entry in the Guinness Book of Records when you install the new Firefox 3 browser.

June 1, 2008

Dr Cyril H.Wecht - High Profile Forensic Pathologist

Controversial Dr Cyril H Wecht has been one of America's most high profile forensic pathologists since he testified in the JFK shooting. Today he is still in the news.

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