Vulcan Mind Meld for Locked-In Syndrome patients

Anybody who read the classic American tale Johnny Got His Gun has a slight comprehension of what it’s like to live trapped within your own body, incapable to move, nod, speak or even blink. The mind reels; the body does nothing. Unfortunately, this form of communication-stripped torture isn’t a fictional tale but a reality for many with Locked-in Syndrome (it was featured in the House episode with Mos Def guest starring), which is why the new functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanner, Brain Bee, that can translate brain waves into words — is a big deal.

Brain Bee

This new system empowers fully paralyzed and ‘locked-in’ people to mentally select letters of the alphabet in their brain, which are recognized and typed out on a screen, serving as a brain-based, non-communicative communication system for those unable to speak, sign or blink to indicate their needs. Researchers are able to recognize letter-based thought patterns by using characteristic blood flow patterns.

Before you conjure up images of telepathy or Vulcan mind melds though, this technology is a little more difficult than that to use. In order to ‘think’ of a letter the technology divides the alphabet into three rows, nine columns and 27 squares (26 letters of the alphabet plus the space bar). Each row is assigned a mental task, a motor-imagery task, a mental calculation task and an inner-speech task, that the subject must perform to select the row. The letters then cycle through and the subject selects the correct one by performing the task as the letter appears on screen. It is a time-consuming process but the technology is rather easy to learn, with test subjects learning it in under an hour.

The system has passed the theoretical and initial testing stages and has become a concept system. Although it is still in its initial phases — it has already shown promising results.

Move Over Instragram — ForensicaGPS turns crappy photos into 3D Renders

Rarely are thieves, animators and illustrators frightened by the same technology — but all of the above should be on the lookout for Animetrics’ new software – Forensica GPS. This new software-based technology is able to turn low-res photos into stunning 3D renders.

While my mind is reeling with the possibilities, Animetrics specifically designed their software to help police investigators track down subjects — without the time-consuming sketch artist process. This automation process is able to capture distinct facial features like that of the trained eye of a sketch artist, but being a machine it can do it much quicker (and cheaper?).

The software is based on the growing technology of the facial recognition software movement, and uses facial recognition techniques to turn 2D images into 3D visualizations. Forensica GPS is able to best some of its 3D competitors and 2D counterparts by capturing small changes that make up definition, with things like lighting, tattoos and makeup.

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Google’s Transformer product line is building a Microsoft-slaying open-source Optimus Prime

If you’re a tech geek like me you undoubtedly follow Google – and you also probably know all the transformers by heart. By using Transformers as an allegory we can put Google’s transformation into context.

Google has been acquiring companies, technology and people — aggressively, and now they are joining them all together to build a super-powered Microsoft fighting machine. And they now have Microsoft’s Decepticons in their sights. In fact if you look at Google’s product line, you begin to see that Google is purposefully encroaching into Microsoft territory -gearing up for the battle Royale of the decade.

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Open.org an Open Source for your Open queries. Is that all?

A week ago, a question was raised by the latest owners of Open.org who go by the name Linux Fund organization, and we are still unsure if we have an answer to that question yet. The question was “What do we do with Open.org?” The question came up on the evening February 25th during a Birds of a Feather session at the Southern California Linux Expo. By now, most of the Open Source followers and enthusiasts know that the domain name of Open.org was recently acquired by Linux Fund from the City of Salem, Orgeon. The primary purpose for which the domain was used by Salem was for a kids-to-internet program named The Orgeon Public Education Network. The amount of money that was spent to acquire it is not disclosed yet and it was an auction at which the domain was purchased by Linux Fund.

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Quantity vs. Quality – The Google Algorithm!

You can search for anyone and their uncle on Google, and it won’t disappoint you, and now with the new algorithm the search results will be cleaner and more focused. Google has updated its algorithm to remove the rankings of sites it considers “content farms” and upgrade search results.

This change affected about 12% of search queries, which amounts to a lot in Google world. Google has termed the result as – widely positive, but has also admitted that there might be some collateral harm. Content farms are so pervasive that it is tricky to ascertain good quality which has an impact on publishers and readers.

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Clustered File Systems – a handy dope!

There exists a handful of options to choose from as far as clustered and high storage files are concerned, but in order to understand the functioning of each file system there needs to be some research conducted. Each option of storage architecture and file system is essential as each have their own limitations that are severe and hence require meticulous design work. Here, I will try elaborating on a few common physical storage configurations, as well as clustered and distributed file system options. This should be a good beginning which will help us in looking into the best of technology.

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New Linux Mint 10 – Will you be lured into trying it?

Linux Mint 10
Julia – Linux Mint 10

Battling to be classified as the most reliable open source operating system is the Linux Mint team, which apparently has put its plans to action by leveraging its existing and most popular product the Linux Mint and in turn has brought out a new and updated version of the same – Linux Mint 10 a.k.a. “Julia”. Considered the 2nd runner-up in the open source OS industry, Linux Mint 10 follows the lead of Ubuntu and Fedora who have dominated the open source market with products like Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora Project.

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The Open Source Revolution – all you need to know!

Enjoy Free Beer

Photo by SurfStyle

Free BeerWe love free beer as much as we love free softwares.

Most of us admire free beer and free softwares? The former might not be true for all, but I’m sure you all would agree to the software thing! Has it not been true, more than 60% of the internet users would have not been hitting the websites offering cracks and serials (and they would have not mushroomed to an such an extent. Thanks to Google’s Adsense!)

But what if you are a proud owner of a software — be it an application software, a system software or a game that’s free, and may even be registered to you? This was the idea which created the first impression about Free and Open Source Softwares (FOSS) into the minds of the developers around the world who were busy working great, but under the slavery of softwares which were of closed source and high acquisition cost.

FOSS has risen to great prominence. Briefly, Open Source Softwares and Free Softwares are programs whose licenses give users the freedom to run the program for an indefinite time period, to study and modify the program, and to redistribute copies of either the original or modified program (without having to pay royalties to previous developers).

Open source is inevitable as it gives control to the customer. Bugs are more quickly discovered and fixed. And when a customer doesn’t like how a vendor is serving him, he can choose another without overhauling his infrastructure. No more monopolies. No more
technology lock-in.

What exactly happens with the closed source softwares?

In the proprietary closed source model, the entire development cycle evolves within a single company. Programmers write code, hide it behind binaries and charge the customers to use the software. Thereafter, they add fee for the after-sales support — to fix the software if and when it breaks. No one ever gets to know how bad the software really is!

Taking about Open source, we talk about a large, Internet-connected, worldwide community which backs up the entire project. It involves geeks, students, working-from-home engineers and entrepreneurs, tech savvy moms, and anyone you can think of!

To have an idea of how has the fan following for FOSS increased, look at the graph below. Apache’s Tomcat leads the way. Yes, it’s yet another FOSS!

WebServer Usage Graph

Why Open Source?

This is what RedHat has to say on this;
All software is written with source code. With open source software, the code is protected by a special license that ensures everyone has access to that code. That means no one company can fully own it. Freedom means choice. Choice means power.
The entrepreneurs may still rely on paid products and services but the geeks, students and dare-to-do computer professionals are definitely eying on FOSS. It is like a revolution in the field of computing that people have started to believe in sharing information rather than conserving it or hiding it from the world. This concept has led to a movement — to attain new heights and achieve new goals, which were previously overshadowed due to the reign of closed source softwares.

Talking about the developers and would-be-developers, the platform and support for tools and framework is a key concern guiding them to decide an Operating System. Now-a-days, A new web server infrastructure — LAMP is the cynosure of all eyes.

The acronym LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQl, PHP/Perl/Python) refers to a solution stack of software, usually FOSS, which is used to run dynamic websites or servers. The well-defined tools of LAMP web development exist in nearly every Linux distribution. They include:

  • Linux operating system
  • Apache web server
  • MySQL database application
  • PHP scripting language
  • Perl programming language
  • Python programming language